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Joseph A. Roche, PhD

Academic Title:

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:



HSF 1, 580

Phone (Primary):


Education and Training

I am a Physical Therapist by professional training. I worked as a clinician and Physical Therapy Instructor from 1998-2002. In the Fall of 2002, I enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Physical Rehabilitation Science in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. On completion of my Ph.D. in the Spring of 2008, I joined the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine as a Post Doctoral Fellow. In 2011, I went on to become a Research Associate in the Department of Physiology - a faculty position in the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In 2012, I was promoted to the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In January 2014, I joined the Department of Health Care Sciences as an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University's Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and continue to serve as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Highlighted Publications

Kerr JP, Ziman AP, Mueller AL, Muriel JM, Kleinhans-Welte E, Gumerson JD, Vogel SS, Ward CW, Roche JA*, Bloch RJ. Dysferlin stabilizes stress-induced Ca2+ signaling in the transverse tubule membrane. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Dec 17;110(51):20831-6. *Co-senior author.

Roche JAThe Effects of Diet and Exercise on Weight loss - When 2 Plus 2 Could Add Up To 22. Journal of Physiobiochemical Metabolism (Epub Aug 2012).

Lostal W, Bartoli M, Roudaut C, Bourg N, Krahn M, Pryadkina M, Borel P, Suel L, Roche JA, Stockholm D, Bloch RJ, Levy N, Bashir R, Richard I.  Lack of correlation between outcomes of membrane repair assay and correction of dystrophic changes in experimental therapeutic strategy in dysferlinopathy PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e38036. Epub 2012 May 29.2012.

Roche JA, Ru LW, Bloch RJ. Distinct Effects of Contraction-induced Injury In Vivo on Four Different Murine Models of Dysferlinopathy.  J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:134031. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

Roche JA, Ford-Speelman DL, Ru LW, Densmore AL, Roche R, Reed PW, Bloch RJ. Physiological and histological changes in skeletal muscle following in vivo gene transfer by electroporation. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):C1239-50. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Additional Publication Citations

Roche JA, Ru LW, O'Neill AM, Resneck WG, Lovering RM, Bloch RJ. Unmasking potential intracellular roles for dysferlin through improved immunolabeling methods. J Histochem Cytochem. 2011 Nov;59(11):964-75. Cover Image and Editor's Choice Featured Article for Nov 2011.

Lovering RM, Roche JA, Goodall MH, Clark BB, McMillan A. An in vivo rodent model of contraction-induced injury and non-invasive monitoring of recovery. J Vis Exp. 2011 May 11;(51).

Roche JA, Lovering RM, Roche R, Ru LW, Reed PW, Bloch RJ. Extensive mononuclear infiltration and myogenesis characterize the recovery of dysferlin-null skeletal muscle from contraction-induced injuriesAm J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2010 Feb;298(2):C298-312.

Millay PD, Maillet M, Roche JA, Sargent MA, McNally EM, Bloch RJ, Molkentin JD. Genetic manipulation of dysferlin expression in skeletal muscle: Novel insights into muscular dystrophy. Am J Pathol. 2009 Nov;175(5):1817-23. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Ford-Speelman DL, Roche JA, Bowman AL, Bloch RJ. The rhoGEF Domain of Obscurin Activates rhoA Signaling in Skeletal Muscle. Mol Biol Cell. 2009 Sep;20(17):3905-17. Epub 2009 Jul 15.

Tang W, Lovering RM, Roche JA, Bloch RJ, Neerchal NK, Tasch U. Gait analysis of locomotory impairment in rats before and after neuromuscular injury. J Neurosci Methods. Neurosci Methods. 2009 Jul 30;181(2):249-56. Epub 2009 May 9.

Ganguly S, Moolchandani V, Roche JA, Shapiro PS, Somaraju S, Eddington ND, Dalby RN. Phospholipid-Induced In Vivo Particle Migration to Enhance Pulmonary Deposition. J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2008 Dec;21(4):343-50.

Roche JA, Lovering RM, Bloch RJ. Impaired recovery of dysferlin-null skeletal muscle after contraction-induced injury in vivo. Neuroreport. 2008 Oct 29;19(16):1579-84.

Lovering RM, O'Neill A, Roche JA, Bloch RJ. Identification of skeletal muscle mutations in tail snips from neonatal mice using immunohistochemistry.  Biotechniques. 2007 Jun;42(6):702, 704.

Lovering RM, Roche JA, Bloch RJ, De Deyne PG. Recovery of function in skeletal muscle following 2 different contraction-induced injuries.  Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 May;88(5):617-25.

Research Interests

My doctoral and post-doctoral work was aimed at developing a better understanding of how healthy and dystrophic muscles recover from contraction-induced skeletal muscle injuries. Towards the end of my doctoral training, I began to focus on muscle diseases linked to a newly identified mammalian gene known as dysferlin (DYSF; Gene ID: 8291), which is mutated in patients with late-onset, non-lethal muscular dystrophies collectively known as a dysferlinopathies.

My work suggests that the protein dysferlin (a product of the DYSF gene), which was initially thought to repair damaged plasma membranes in skeletal muscle fibers, might actually play a more critical role in maintaining the integrity of internal membrane systems such as the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum and transverse tubules in skeletal muscle. My current research is focused on understanding the events that lead to myofiber death in the absence dysferlin by studying the response of muscle to in vivo contraction-induced injury. As a Physical Therapist and Rehabilitation Scientist, I am also deeply committed to applying our ever evolving insights into dysferlin and dysferlinopathies in the development of comprehensive clinical management strategies to minimize muscle damage, optimize functional independence and improve the quality of life in patients with dysferlinopathies and other muscular dystrophies.

The Jain Foundation Inc., a private foundation that has been championing the cause of finding a cure dysferlinopathies, has supported my research program over the last 5 years.

Lab Techniques and Equipment

In vivo measurement of contractile function in skeletal muscle; In vivo protocols for experimental induction of muscle injury; Immunohistochemistry; Immunoblotting; Membrane fractionation and proteomics studies; Flow cytometry; Gene Expression analyses

Links of Interest

Clinical Speciality

  • Physical Therapy (Generalist)
  • Rehabilitation Science
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Neuromuscular Disorders