The Muscle Biology Research Group, also known as MUBIG, was established when Jon Andresen, Ph.D., Marco Brotto, Ph.D, and Michael Wacker, Ph.D., were brought on board at UMKC in 2007 and accepted joint appointments to the School of Nursing and Health Studies and School of Medicine.

These three physiologists specialized in vascular smooth muscle, skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle research, respectively. They joined another physiologist, Dr. Tina Hines from SoNHS, in forming a core group of multi-disciplinary physiologists. This critical mass of physiologists all working on muscle function using complementary techniques fueled the idea of creating MUBIG. Soon after inception, close collaborations were formed with the Bone Biology Group from the School of Dentistry. Dr. Brotto served as the director of MUBIG from its beginning in 2007 until 2015. In 2015, Drs. Michael Wacker and Eduardo Abreu became co-directors.

What We Study

Members are studying basic, clinical, translational and applied research questions. Our main areas of research focus are: bone-muscle crosstalk, cardiovascular diseases, aging sarcopenia, musculoskeletal disorders, tendon physiology and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. With the growth of our group and collaborations, we have also expanded into radiation biology related to cancer treatment and the development of devices for diagnostic and treatment of muscle diseases.


The MUBIG mission is collaboration in pursuit of understanding and treating muscle-related diseases and improving the quality of human life.


Eduardo Abreu, M.D., D.Eng., Assistant Professor, UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies and MUBIG Co-Director


Cofounders, Past Members and Collaborators

Marco Brotto, Ph.D., was co-founder and director of MUBIG from 2007-15 and served as the Dale and Dorothy Thompson Missouri Endowed Professor of Nursing and Health Studies with adjunct appointments in Medicine and Pharmacology at UMKC. He is currently the George W. and Hazel M. Jay Professor and director of the Ph.D. nursing program at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at the University of Texas at Arlington. Brotto’s expertise centers on aging and sarcopenia, bone/muscle crosstalk, excitation contraction coupling and intracellular calcium handling in skeletal muscle. Brotto collaborates closely with the MUBIG members at UMKC as well as the Bone Biology Group at the UMKC School of Dentistry through multiple projects, including the NIH-funded program project grant on “Osteocyte regulation of bone/muscle with age”.

Jon Andresen, Ph.D., was an Assistant Professor of Physiology at the UMKC School of Medicine from 2007-12 and co-founded MUBIG. He taught physiology in the Anesthesiology Assistants program and researched tandem pore domain potassium channels as well as phosphoinositide signaling in cerebrovascular smooth muscle. He received his MBA in Strategy and Innovation from the University of Iowa in 2013. He co-founded Alamo Eye Care and The Contact Lens Institute of San Antonio in 2014 and served as president of ESI Consulting as an education and corporate strategy consultant. In 2015 he co-founded EchoLase Inc., a medical device company with expertise in optoacoustics. Andresen continues to collaborate with MUBIG members on bone-muscle crosstalk as well as other projects.

Tina Hines, Ph.D. (University of Missouri-Kanas City, SoNHS retired)

Lynda Bonewald, Ph.D. (University of Missouri-Kansas City, SOD)

Sarah Dallas, Ph.D. (University of Missouri-Kansas City, SOD)

Jeff Gorski, Ph.D. (University of Missouri-Kansas City, SOD)

Mark Johnson, Ph.D. (University of Missouri-Kansas City, SOD)

Chad Touchberry, Ph.D. (University of Memphis, Dept. of Health and Sport Science)

Lori Wetmore, Ph.D. (William Jewell College, Dept. of Chemistry)

Jason Stubbs, M.D. (University of Kansas Medical Center, Kidney Institute)

Buddha Dawn, M.D. (University of Kansas Medical Center, Cardiovascular Research Institute)

Christian Faul, Ph.D. (University of Miami, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology)

Yun Yan, M.D. (Children’s Mercy Hospital, Pediatric Endocrinology)

Noah Weisleder, Ph.D. (Ohio State University, Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute)

Jianjie Ma (Ohio State University, College of Medicine)

Stephen Ball, Ph.D. (University of Missouri, Department of Nutritional Sciences Extension)

Matt Stern, Ph.D. (Winthrop University)

Jos Domen, Ph.D. (Children’s Mercy Hospital, Cardiac Transplantation Research Lab)

Anil Kumar, Ph.D. (University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Pharmacy)

Pat Kelly, Ph.D. (University of Missouri-Kansas City, SoNHS)

Sarah Kessler, Ph.D. (University of Kansas School of Medicine)