Middleton Lab bio photo

Middleton Lab

University of Missouri - Integrative Anatomy

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People in the Lab


Kevin Middleton, Ph.D.

Kevin MiddletonI’m an anatomist / functional morphologist / occasional paleontologist / biomechanist and part of the Integrative Anatomy group in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

My research focuses on vertebrate musculoskeletal physiology, form, and function in the contexts of animal locomotion and evolution. In my work, I integrate studies across multiple scales from micro-scale structural materials of bone to macro-scale whole bone morphology to evolutionary changes across vertebrate taxa and with comparisons to extinct organisms.

I’m active in the MU Evolutionary Studies group. I’m also the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences.

From 2007-2012, I was an assistant and then associate professor in the Department of Biology at California State University, San Bernardino. Prior to that I was a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University and the University of California, Riverside.

Way back in history, I was an undergraduate at Wake Forest University and then a doctoral student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University. Here’s a link to my thesis on WorldCat: Morphology, evolution, and function of the avian hallux. If you are interested in the evolution of avian feet and want a copy, just email me.

Graduate Students

Sarah Peacock

Sarah Peacock

  • Modern human variation, human cranio-facial morphology, forensic anthropology
  • BS Biological Anthropology and Biology, George Washington University
  • MS Forensic Anthropology, Boston University

Amanda Smolinsky

Amanda Smolinsky

  • Skeletal evolution and functional morphology
  • BS Biology, Roanoke College
  • MPhil Human Evolutionary Study, University of Cambridge

Undergraduate Students

Nick Bira

Nick Bira

Nick started in the lab as a summer fellow as part of the Math in Life Science Freshman Interest Group. He has continued as a C3 Hughes Research Fellow. As part of his project, Nick helped to develop a video about research in the lab.

Nick is developing cost-effective system to record 3D locomotor kinematics of mice. In the picture to the right, he’s setting up the system.

Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Susan Lujan (MS 2012)

  • Thesis: “Variable Levels of Atmospheric Oxygen Do Not Affect Microanatomy and Limb Bone Geometry in Alligator mississippiensis
  • Currently: Lecturer, CSU San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus

Brittney Coats (MS 2012)

  • Thesis: “Limb bone geometry and skeletal physiology in mice bred for high levels of activity”
  • PhD: University of Chicago (2015)
  • Currently: Assistant professor, St. Louis College of Pharmacy

Lauren English (MS 2012)

  • Thesis: “Allometry of the pterosaur wing skeleton”
  • Currently: Doctoral student, Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas, Austin (Fall 2012)

Katie Johnson (MS 2012)

  • Thesis: “Feather biomechanics of penguins and other seabirds”
  • Currently: Doctoral student, Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside

Undergraduate and Post-bac Students

Kyle Kirkland

Kyle Kirkland (2015)

Kyle visited the lab from Michigan State University in Summer 2015 as an MU School of Medicine Summer Research Fellow.

Kyle constructed a 3-point bending apparatus for mouse femora (which he is seen here in the process of constructing). In his project, he compared the bending strength of femora from mice with the Myhc4Minimsc-/- mutation with two inbred strains.

Imran Rashid (2015)

Imran completed his Biological Sciences Honors project in the lab on “Testing axial loading in tail and lumbar vertebrae of mice selected for exercise”.

Michael Sojka (2015)

Michael was a strategic communications major in the MU School of Journalism and a C3 Hughes Research Fellow. As part of his project, Michael helped to develop a video about research in the lab.

Tarrin Casey

Tarrin Casey (2014)

Tarrin visited the lab in Summer, 2014 as an MU School of Medicine Summer Research Fellow from Xavier University, New Orleans. She studied the bending properties of feather rachises for her summer research project.

Diana Salas (2013)

Diana visited the lab in Summer, 2013 as an MU School of Medicine Summer Research Fellow from Indiana University. She worked on mineral apposition rates in high-runner mice.

Christian Andrus (2012)

  • Biomechanics of flight feathers in seabirds
  • Western University of Health Sciences College of Dentistry (2012)

Krystina Bradford (2012)

  • Biomechanics of contour feathers in recent and fossil penguins
  • University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (2012)

Darren Brockie (2009)

  • Morphometrics of the mouse femur in “mini-muscle” and outbred mice
  • Loma Linda School of Medicine (2010)
  • Currently a resident in Emergency Medicine

Frank Lee (2009)

  • Staining protocols for articular cartilage
  • Midwestern University School of Pharmacy (2009)

Skyler Liatti (2009)

  • Morphometrics of the mandible in “mini-muscle” mice
  • Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (2010)

Jennifer Swingle (2008)

  • Role of soft tissue in determining joint mobility in birds
  • Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (2008)