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Robert J. Bloch, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):



HSF-I, 580C

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-3020


(410) 706-8341

Education and Training

2013-present: Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD1967: A.B., Columbia University, Biological Sciences
1990-present: Professor, with tenure, Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, M1972: Ph.D., Harvard University, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
2007-2010: System Affiliate Professor, Medical Biotechnology Center, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
1989-1990: Ernma and Jacob Michael Visiting Professor, Department of Chemical Immunology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
1985-1990: Associate Professor, with tenure, Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
1980-1985: Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
1976-1980: Research Associate, Neurobiology Laboratory, The Salk Institute, San Diego, CA
1972-1976: Postdoctoral Fellow, Biozentrum der Universitaet, Basel, Switzerland
1972: Ph.D., Harvard University, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
1967-1972: Graduate Student, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program, Harvard University
1967: A.B., Columbia University, Biological Sciences

Highlighted Publications

Muriel, J., V. Lukyanenko, T. Kwiatkowski, S. Battacharya, D. Garman, N. Weisleder and R.J. Bloch (2022) The C2 Domains of Dysferlin:  Roles in Membrane Localization, Stabilization of Ca2+ Signaling, and Membrane Repair. J. Physiol. 600, 1953-1968.  PMCID: PMC9285653

Lukyanenko, V., J. Muriel, D. Garman, L. Breydo and R.J. Bloch (2022). Elevated Ca2+ at the  Triad Junction Underlies Dysregulation of Ca2+ Signaling in Dysferlin-null Skeletal Muscle.   Front. Physiol. 103, 1032447 PMCID: PMC9669649

Kinney, C.J., A. O’Neill, K. Noland, W. Huang, V. Lukyanenko, M.R. Kane, C.W. Ward, A. F., Collier, J.A. Roche, J.C. McLenithan, P.W. Reed, and R.J. Bloch (2021) μ-Crystallin in Mouse Skeletal Muscle Promotes a Shift from Glycolytic toward Oxidative Metabolism.  Curr. Res. Physiol. 4, 47-29. PMCID: PMC8562245

Kinney, C.J., and R.J. Bloch (2021) µ-Crystallin: A Thyroid Hormone Binding Protein. Endocr.  Regulations 55, 89-102.  PMCID: PMC9202446  

Garcia-Pelagio, K.P., and R.J. Bloch (2021) Biomechanical Properties of the Sarcolemma and Costameres of Skeletal Muscle Lacking Desmin.  Front. Physiol. 12, 706806. PMCID: PMC8416993 

Muriel, J.M., A. O’Neill, J.P. Kerr, E. Kleinhans-Welte, R.M. Lovering and R.J. Bloch (2020)  Keratin 18 is an Integral Part of the Intermediate Filament Network in Murine Skeletal MuscleAm. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol. 318, C215-C224.   PMCID: PMC6985829

Mueller, A.L., and R.J. Bloch (2020) Skeletal Muscle Cell Transplantation: Models and Methods. J.  Muscle Res. Cell Motil.,  2020 Dec;41(4):297-311.  PMID: 31392564

Mueller AL, O’Neill A, Jones TI, Llach-Martinez A, Rojas LA, Sakellariou P, Stadler G, Wright EW, Eyerman D, Jones PL, Bloch JR  (2019) Muscle Xenografts Reproduce Key Molecular Features of Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy. Exp. Neurol 320:113011. 2019 Oct;320:113011.  PMCID: PMC6730665

Desmond PF, Labuza A, Muriel J, Markwardt ML, Mancini AE, Rizzo MA and Bloch RJ  (2017) Interactions between small ankyrin 1 and sarcolipin coordinately regulate activity of the sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA1). J. Biol. Chem. 292, 10961-10972. PMCID: PMC5491780


Additional Publication Citations

Zhang, H., V. Bryson, C. Wang, T. Yu, J. Kerr, R. Wilson, D. Muoio, R.J. Bloch, C. Ward and P. Rosenberg (2021) Desmin Interacts with STIM1 and Coordinates Ca2+ Signaling in Skeletal Muscle. JCI Insight 2021 Sep 8;6(17):e143472.  PMCID: PMC8492340

Collier AF, Gumerson J, Lehtimäki K, Puoliväli J, Jones JW, Kane MA, Manne S, O'Neill A, Windish HP, Ahtoniemi T, Williams BA, Albrecht DE, Bloch RJ.  (2017)  Effect of Ibuprofen on Skeletal Muscle of Dysferlin-Null MiceJ Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2018 Mar; 364(3):409-419.  PMCID: PMC5801553

García-Pelagio KP, Chen L, Joca HC, Ward C, Jonathan Lederer W, Bloch RJ.  (2017)  Absence of synemin in mice causes structural and functional abnormalities in heart.  J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2018 Jan;114:354-363. PMCID: PMC5850968

Lukyanenko V, Muriel J and Bloch RJ (2017) Coupling of excitation to Ca2+ release is modulated by dysferlin. J. Physiol., 2017 Aug 1;595(15):5191-5207. Epub 2017 Jun 26.  PMCID: PMC5538227

Moorer MC, Buo AM, Garcia-Pelagio K, Stains JP and Bloch RJ  (2016) Deficiency of the intermediate filament synemin reduces bone mass in vivo. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 311, C839-C845.  PMCID: PMC5206296

García-Pelagio KP, Muriel J, O'Neill A, Desmond PF, Lovering RM, Lund L, Bond M, Bloch RJ.  (2015) Myopathic changes in murine skeletal muscle lacking synemin.  Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2015 Mar 15;308(6):C448-62. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00331.2014. Epub 2015 Jan 7. PMCID: PMC4360028

Roche JA, Tulapurkar ME, Mueller AL, van Rooijen N, Hasday JD, Lovering RM, Bloch RJ.  (2015)  Myofiber damage precedes macrophage infiltration after in vivo injury in dysferlin-deficient A/J mouse skeletal muscle.  Am J Pathol. 2015 Jun;185(6):1686-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2015.02.020. Epub 2015 Apr 25. PMCID: PMC4450316

Desmond PF, Muriel J, Markwardt ML, Rizzo MA, Bloch RJ. (2015)  Identification of Small Ankyrin 1 as a Novel Sarco(endo)plasmic Reticulum Ca2+-ATPase 1 (SERCA1) Regulatory Protein in Skeletal Muscle.  J Biol Chem. 2015 Nov 13;290(46):27854-67. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M115.676585. Epub 2015 Sep 24. PMCID: PMC4646913

Sakellariou P, O'Neill A, Mueller AL, Stadler G, Wright WE, Roche JA, Bloch RJ.  (2015).  Neuromuscular electrical stimulation promotes development in mice of mature human muscle from immortalized human myoblasts.  Skelet Muscle. 2016 Feb 27;6:4. doi: 10.1186/s13395-016-0078-6. eCollection 2015.  PMCID: PMC4769538

Kerr, J.P., C.W. Ward and R.J. Bloch (2014) Dysferlin at transverse tubules regulates Ca2+ homeostasis in skeletal muscle.  Frontiers Physiol 5, article 89PMCID: PMC3944681

Kerr, J.P., A.P. Ziman, A.L. Mueller, J.M. Muriel, E. Kleinhans-Welte, J.D. Gumerson, S.S. Vogel, C.W. Ward, J.A. Roche and R.J. Bloch(2013) Dysferlin stabilizes stress-induced Ca 2+ signaling in the transverse tubule membraneProc. Natl. Acad. USA 110, 20831-20836. PMCID: PMC3870721

Lund, L.M., J.P. Kerr, J. Lupinetti, Y. Zhang, M.A. Russell, R.J. Bloch and M. Bond (2012). Synemin Isoforms Differentially Organize Cell Junctions and Desmin Filaments in Neonatal CardiomyocytesFASEB J. 26, 137-148. PMCID: PMC3250239

Shah, S.B., J.M. Love, A. O’Neill, R.M. Lovering and R.J. Bloch (2012) Influences of Desmin and Keratin 19 on Passive Biomechanical Properties of Mouse Skeletal Muscle. J. Biotechnol. Biomed. 704061. PMCID: PMC3263816

Roche, J.A., L.W. Ru, and R.J. Bloch (2012) Distinct Effects of Contraction-induced Injury In Vivo on Four Different Murine Models of DysferlinopathyJ. Biotechnol. Biomed. 134031 PMCID: PMC3303924

Willis, C.D., T. Oashi, B. Busby, A.D. MacKerell Jr., and R.J. Bloch (2012) Hydrophobic Contribution to Binding of Obscurin and Small Ankyrin 1. Mol. Memb. Biol. 29, 36-51. PMCID: PMC3377380

Reed, P., A. Densmore, and R.J. Bloch (2012) Optimization of Large Gel 2D Electrophoresis for Proteomic Studies of Skeletal MuscleElectrophoresis 33, 1263-1270. [PMID:22589104; PMCID in process]

Lostal, W., M. Bartoli, C. Roudaut, N. Bourg, M. Krahn, M. Pryadkina, P. Borel, L. Suel, J.A. Roche, D. Stockholm, R.J. Bloch, N. Levy, R. Bashi, and I. Richard (2012) Restoration of Sarcolemmal Resealing in a Mouse Model of Dysferlinopathy Is Not Sufficient to Improve Dystrophic ChangesPlOS One, e38036. PMCID: PMC3362551

Goodall, M.H., C.W. Ward, S.J. Pratt, R.J. Bloch and R.M. Lovering (2012) Structural and Functional Evaluation of Branched Myofibers Lacking Intermediate FilamentsAm. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 303, C224-C232.  PMCID: PMC3404518

Nestor, M.W., X. Cai, M.R. Stone, R.J. Bloch and S. Thompson (2011) The Actin Binding Domain of βI-Spectrin Regulates the Morphological and Functional Dynamics of Dendritic SpinesPLoS One 6, e16197. PMCID: PMC3031527

García-Pelagio, K., R.J. Bloch, A. Ortega and H. González-Serratos (2011) Biomechanics of the Sarcolemma and Costameres in Skeletal Myofibers from Normal and Dystrophic MiceJ. Musc. Res. Cell Motil. 31, 323–336. [PMID: 21312057; PMCID, in process]

Lovering, R.M., A. O’Neill, J.M. Muriel, B.L. Prosser, J. Strong and R.J. Bloch (2011) Physiology, Structure, and Susceptibility to Injury of Skeletal Muscle in Mice Lacking Keratin 19-Based and Desmin-Based Intermediate FilamentsAm. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 300, C803-C813 PMCID: PMC3074621

Busby, B., T. Oashi, C.D. Willis, M.A Ackermann, A. Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos, A.D. MacKerell Jr. and R.J. Bloch (2011) Electrostatic Interactions Mediate Binding of Obscurin to Small Ankyrin 1: Biochemical and Molecular Modeling StudiesJ. Mol. Biol. 408, 321-334 PMCID: PMC3367564

Ackermann, M.A., A.P. Ziman, J. Strong, C.W. Ward, W.R. Randall, A. Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos, and R.J. Bloch (2011) Integrity of the Network Sarcoplasmic Reticulum in Skeletal Muscle Requires Small Ankyrin 1J. Cell Sci. 124, 3619-3630. PMCID: PMC3215573

Roche, J.A., L. Ru, A. O’Neill, R. Lovering and R.J. Bloch (2011) Unmasking potential intracellular roles for dysferlin through improved immunolabeling methodsJ. Histochem. Cytochem.59, 964-975. PMCID: PMC3261626

Roche, J.A., D.L. Ford-Speelman, L.W. Ru, A.L. Densmore, R. Roche, P.W. Reed and R.J. Bloch (2011) Physiological and Histological Changes in Skeletal Muscle Following in Vivo Gene Transfer by ElectroporationAm. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 301, C1239-C1250. PMCID: PMC3213910

Roche, J.A., R.M. Lovering, R. Roche, P.W. Reed and R.J. Bloch. (2010) Extensive mononuclear infiltration and myogenesis characterize the recovery of dysferlin-null skeletal muscle from contraction-induced injuriesAm. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol., 298:C298-312. PMCID: PMC2822489

Zhang, Y., W.G. Resneck, P.C. Lee, D.H. Catino, D. Ford-Speelman, W.R. Randall, R.J. Bloch and J.A. Ursitti (2010) Characterization and Expression of a Heart-Specific, Alternatively Spliced Variant of αII-Spectrin, Cardi+, during Development in the Rat. J. Mol. Cell. Cardiol. 48, 1050-1059. Epub 2010 Jan 28. [Commentary: T.J Hund, P.J. Mohler, J. Mol. Cell. Cardiol. 48, 1031-1032. Epub 2010 Feb 6].  PMCID: PMC3537504

Weinman, E.J., D. Steplock, Y. Zhang, R. Biswas, R.J. Bloch and S. Shenolikar (2010) Cooperativity between the phosphorylation of Thr95 and Ser77 of NHERF-1 in the hormonal regulation of renal phosphate transport. J. Biol. Chem. 285, 25134-25138.  PMCID: PMC2919075

Ziman, A.P., C.W. Ward, G.G. Rodney, W.J. Lederer, and R.J. Bloch (2010) Quantitative measurement of Ca2+ in the sarcoplasmic reticulum lumen of mammalian skeletal muscleBiophys. J. 99, 2705-2714. PMCID: PMC2955505

Busby, B., C.D. Willis, M.A. Ackermann, A. Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos and R.J. Bloch (2010). Characterization and Comparison of Two Binding Sites on Obscurin for Small Ankyrin 1Biochem. 49, 9948-9956. PMCID: PMC3000613

Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos, A., M.A. Ackerman, A.L. Bowman, S.L. Yap and R.J. Bloch (2009) Muscle Giants: Molecular Scaffolds in SarcomerogenesisPhysiol. Rev. 89:1217-1267. PMCID: PMC3076733

Ford-Speelman, D.L., A.L. Bowman, and R.J. Bloch (2009) The RhoGEF Domain of Obscurin Activates RhoA Signaling in Skeletal MuscleMol. Biol. Cell 20:3905-3917. PMCID: PMC2735489

Bowman, A.L., D. Catino, W.R. Randall, A. Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos and R.J. Bloch (2008) The Rho-GEF Domain of Obscurin Binds to RanBP9 and Regulates Assembly of Titin at the Z-lineMol. Biol. Cell 19:3782-3792  PMCID: PMC2526693

Roche, J.A., R.M. Lovering and R.J. Bloch (2008) Impaired recovery of dysferlin-null skeletal muscle after contraction-induced injury in vivoNeuroReport 19:1579-1584. PMCID: PMC2662728

Borzok, M.A., D.H. Catino, J.D. Nicholson, A. Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos and R.J. Bloch (2007) Mapping the Binding Site on Small Ankyrin 1 for ObscurinJ. Biol. Chem. 282, 32384-32396.

Reed, P.W., A.M. Corse, N.C. Porter, K.M. Flanigan and R.J. Bloch (2007) Abnormal expression of mu-crystallin in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophyExptl. Neurol. 205, 583-586.

Stone, M.R., A. O'Neill, R.M. Lovering, P.W. Reed, J. Strong, W.G. Resneck, P.C. Lee, D.M. Toivola, J.A. Ursitti, M.B. Omary and R. J. Bloch (2007) Absence of Keratin 19 in Mice Causes Skeletal Myopathy with Mitochondrial and Sarcolemmal ReorganizationJ. Cell Sci. 120, 3999-4008.

Ursitti, J.A., McNally, M., O’Neill, A., Resneck, W.G. and Bloch, R.J. (2004). Cloning and Characterization of Cytokeratins 8 and 19 in Adult Rat Striated Muscle. J. Biol. Chem. 279(40):41830-41838.

Reed, P. and Bloch, R.J. (2004) The Sarcolemma in the Largemyd MouseMuscle & Nerve. 30:585-595 

Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos, A., Catino, D.C., Randall, W.R. and Bloch, R.J. (2004) Obscurin Regulates the Organization of Myosin into A-Bands Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol.  287:C209-C217

Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos, A., and Bloch, R.J. (2003) The Hydrophilic Domain of Small Ankyrin 1 Interacts with the Two NH2-terminal Immunoglobulin Domains of TitinJ. Biol. Chem. 238: 3985-3991

Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos, A., Jones, E.M., Van Rossum, D.B. and Bloch, R.J. (2003) Obscurin is a Ligand for Small Ankyrin 1 in Skeletal MuscleMolec. Biol. Cell 14: 1138-1148.

Antolik, C., De Deyne, P. and Bloch, R.J. (2003). Biolistic Transfection of Myotubes in CultureScience STKE 2003, pl 11.

Lencesova, L., O’Neill, A., Resneck, W.G., BlochR.J. and Blaustein, M.P. (2003) Plasma Membrane-Cytoskeleton-Endoplasmic Reticulum Complexes in Neurons and AstrocytesJ. Biol. Chem. 279:2885-2893.

O'Neill, A., Williams, M.W., Resneck, W.G., Milner, D.J., Capetanaki, Y. and Bloch, R.J. (2002) Sarcolemmal Reorganization in Skeletal Muscle Lacking Desmin: Evidence for Cytokeratins Associated with the Membrane Skeleton at CostameresMolec. Biol. Cell 13: 2347-2359.

Ursitti, J.A., Martin, L.A., Chaney, T., Zielke, C., Alger, B.E. and Bloch, R.J. (2001) Spectrin Expression and Localization in the Developing Hippocampus of the Rat. Devel. Brain Res. 129:81-93.

Williams, M.W., Resneck, W.G., Kaysser, T., Ursitti, J.A., Birkenmeier, C.S., Barker, J.E. and Bloch, R.J. (2001) Na,K-ATPase in Skeletal Muscle: Two Populations of Beta-Spectrin Control Localization in the Sarcolemma but not Partitioning Between the Sarcolemma and the Transverse Tubules J. Cell Sci. 114:751-762.

Williams, M.W. and Bloch, R.J. (1999) Extensive but Coordinated Reorganization of the Membrane Skeleton in Myofibers of Dystrophic (mdx) MiceJ. Cell Biol. 144:1259-1270.  

De Deyne, P., O'Neill, A., Resneck, W.G., Dmytrenko, G.M., Pumplin, D.W. and Bloch, R.J. (1998) Vitronectin Receptor Associated with Clathrin-Coated Membrane Domains through the Cytoplasmic Sequence of the Alpha-5 SubunitJ. Cell Sci. 111:2729-2740.

Bezakova, G. and Bloch, R.J. (1998) The Zinc Finger Domain of the 43K Receptor-Associated Protein, Rapsyn: Role in Acetylcholine Receptor ClusteringMolec. Cell. Neurosci. 11:274-288.

Zhou, D., Ursitti, J.A. and Bloch, R.J. (1998) Developmental Expression of Spectrins in Rat Skeletal MuscleMolec. Biol. Cell 9:47-61.

Porter, G.A., Scher, M.G., Resneck, W.G., Porter, N.C., Fowler, V. and Bloch, R.J. (1997) Two Populations of Beta-Spectrin in Rat Skeletal MuscleCell Motil. Cytoskel. 37:7-19.

Zhou, D., Birkenmeier, C.S., Williams, M., Sharp, J.J., Barker, J.E. and Bloch, R.J. (1997) Small, Membrane-bound, Alternatively Spliced Forms of Ankyrin 1 Associated with the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum of Mammalian Skeletal MuscleJ.Cell Biol. 136:621-631.

Luther, P.W., Samuelsson, S.J., BlochR.J. and Pumplin, D.W. (1996) Rotary Replication of the Neuromuscular Junction: Structures Associated with the Cytoplasmic Surface of Postjunctional Sarcolemma. J. Neurocytol. 25:417-427.

Porter, G.A., Dmytrenko, G.M., Winkelmann, J.C. and Bloch, R.J. (1992) Dystrophin Colocalizes with Beta-Spectrin in Distinct Subsarcolemmal Domains in Mammalian Skeletal MuscleJ. Cell Biol. 117:997-1005.

Research Interests

  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Xenografting
  • Intermediate Filaments in Muscle and Bone
  • Organization of the Plasma Membrane and Intracellular Membranes in Excitable Cells
  • Organization of Striated Muscle Membrane-associated Cytoskeleton
  • Myofibrillogenesis

Awards and Affiliations

Awards to Kaila Noland
Martin Frank Diversity Travel Award - 2023 - American Physiological Society's APS Summit
UMB Student Travel Fellowship to attend FASEB meeting,  2017
UMB's President's Fellowship
Olive Ruth Russell Fellowship (awarded for three years)

Awards to Maria Traficante
UMB Graduate Student Association Travel Award to FSHD Society International Research Congress, 2022
UMB Graduate Student Association Travel Award to FSHD Society International Research Congress, 2020

Awards to Amber Mueller
Best Poster,  Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Clinical Conference, March 20-23, 2016. $500 cash prize
Best Oral Presentation, Muscle and Membrane Biology Retreats, Spring, 2016.

Awards to Anna Llach Martinez
Best Poster, New Direction in Skeletal Muscle Biology and Disease conference June 29 – July 2, 2016. $1,000 prize.

Grants and Contracts

My laboratory is funded by a mix of grants from the NIH (RO1 and R21) and from foundations dedicated to studies of muscular dystrophy (e.g., Jain Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Friends of FSH Research, SOLVE FSHD, FSHD Society).  We also have agreements with several biopharma companies whose contributions help fund our research. 

Lab Techniques and Equipment

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Muscle Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Confocal imaging 
  • Muscle Ultrastructure
  • Biacore and Surface Plasmon Resonance
  • Xenografting
  • FRET

Links of Interest

Laboratory Personnel

  • Joaquin Muriel-Gonzalez (Research Associate) Structure and function of intermediate filaments and dysferlin in skeletal muscle
  • Valeriy Lukyanenko (Senior Research Analyst) Dysferlin and Ca2+ signaling
  • Yinghua Zhang (Research Associate) Studies of protein-protein interaction by surface plasmon resonance
  • Andrea O’Neill (Senior Research Assistant) Xenografting of dystrophic human skeletal muscle tissue
  • Kaila Noland (doctoral student)  Mu-Crystallin's role in muscle and in metabolism
  • Dan Garman (doctoral student) Regulation of calcium release in skeletal muscle by phosphorylation
  • Maria Traficante (doctoral student) Protein biomarkers of Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
  • Yi Li (doctoral student)  Regulation of SERCA by small ankyrin 1 and obscurin