Abreu Research Lab

Eduardo Abreu, M.D., D.Eng., has been an assistant professor at the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies since 2010.

The main focus of his research is the musculoskeletal system, more specifically tendons. Reflecting his interdisciplinary background in physics, medicine and biomedical engineering, Dr. Abreu is particularly interested in tenocyte (i.e., the tendon cell) biology, tendon biomechanics, mechanobiology and how tendons communicate with other tissues. Historically, tenocytes have been studied to a lesser extent than other cells of the musculoskeletal system because initially tendons were once seen as mere connectors between bones and muscles. One motivation for the study of tendons is their low healing capacity. As we improve our knowledge about tendons and tenocytes, we will be in a better position to develop improved strategies for the prevention of tendon diseases, faster healing and more efficient tissue engineering approaches. Dr. Abreu is also interested in aging and fall prevention, being an active member of the Consortium for Aging in Community, an interdisciplinary group aimed at fostering aging education, and research at UMKC. Beyond his research work, Dr. Abreu has a deep commitment to education, teaching and serving as co-director of Anatomy and Physiology at SoNHS, one of the largest undergraduate courses at UMKC with over 300 students per semester.

Current Projects

  1. Calcium cellular metabolism in tenocytes. Using intracellular calcium measurements we have shown the existence of store-operated calcium entry in tenocytes, how calcium oscillations change with aging (figures 1), and how the oscillations can be synchronized among connected tenocytes (figure 2)
  2. Gene expression changes in tenocytes due to aging
  3. Role of biomarkers in fall prevention in older adults

  1. School of Nursing and Health Studies – Startup Funds
  2. Department of Health Services – Clay County Senior Services – “Preventing Falls in Elderly Patients” – Co-investigator

  • Kainoa Johnson (graduate student – UMKC School of Biological Sciences)
  • Stephen Tran (undergraduate student – UMKC School of Biological Sciences)
  • Sarah Young-Ji Park (undergraduate student – UMKC School of Biological Sciences)

Jian Huang, Yi-Hsiang Hsu, Chenglin Mo, Eduardo Abreu, Douglas P. Kiel, Lynda F. Bonewald, Marco Brotto, David Karasik. METTL21C is a potential pleiotropic gene for osteoporosis and sarcopenia acting through the modulation of the NFκB signaling pathway. J Bone Miner Res. 2014 Jul;29(7):1531-40.

Abreu EL, Ngo HD, Bellare A. Characterization of network parameters for UHMWPE by plane strain compression. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2014 Apr;32:1

Abreu EL, An-Lin Cheng A-L, Kelly PJ, Chertoff K, Brotto L, Griffith E, Kinder G, Uridge T, Zachow R, Brotto M. Skeletal Muscle Troponin as a Novel Biomarker to Enhance Assessment of the Impact of Strength Training on Fall Prevention in the Elderly. Nurs Res. 2014 Mar-Apr;63(2):75-82

Heather Manring, Eduardo Abreu, Noah Weisleder, Marco Brotto. Novel excitation-contraction coupling related genes reveal aspects of muscle weakness beyond atrophy—new hopes for treatment of musculoskeletal diseases. Front Physiol. 2014 Feb 18;5:37

Leon-Salas WD, Rizk H, Mo C, Brotto L, Weisleder N, Abreu E, Brotto M. A Dual Mode Pulsed Electro- Magnetic Cell Stimulator Produces Acceleration of Myogenic Differentiation. Recent Pat Biotechnol. 2013 Apr;7(1):71-81.

Ball S, Gammon R, Kelly PJ, Cheng AL, Chertoff K, Kaume L, Abreu EL, Brotto M. Outcomes of Stay Strong, Stay Healthy in Community Settings. J Aging Health. 2013 Oct 22.

Abreu EL, Stern M, Brotto M. Bone-Muscle interactions: ASBMR Topical Meeting, July 2012. IBMS BoneKEy. 2012 Dec, 9, Article number 239 (2012).

Brotto MP, Abreu EL. Sarcopenia: Pharmacology today and tomorrow. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2012 Aug 28.

Abreu, EL, Palmer, MP, Murray MM. Collagen density significantly affects the functional properties of an engineered provisional scaffold. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2010 Apr;93(1):150-7

Abreu, EL, Palmer, MP, Murray, MM. Storage conditions do not have detrimental effect on allograft collagen or scaffold performance. Cell & Tissue Banking. 2009 Nov;10(4):333-40.

Abreu EL, Leigh D, Derwin KA: Effect of altered mechanical load conditions on the structure and function of cultured tendon fascicles. J Orthop Res. 2008 Mar; 26(3):364-73.

E. Abreu, D. Haire, P. S. Malchesky, D. Wolf-Bloom, J. F. Cornhill. “Development of a Program Model to Evaluate the Potential of reuse Single-Use Devices: Results of a Pilot Test Study”. Biomed Instrum Technol. 2002 Nov-Dec; 36(6):389-404. Best research article of 2002 award.