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Joseph A. Roche Ph.D.

Academic Title: Adjunct Assistant Professor
Primary Appointment: Physiology
Location: HSF 1, 580
Phone: 443-413-9494

Personal History:

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.

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.

Clinical Speciality:

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

Lab Techniques and Equipment:

In vivo measurment 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


Peer Reviewed Manuscripts

  1. Dysferlin stabilizes stress-induced Ca2+ signaling in the transverse tubule membrane. Kerr JP, Ziman AP, Mueller AL, Muriel JM, Kleinhans-Welte E, Gumerson JD, Vogel SS, Ward CW, Roche JA*, Bloch RJ. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Dec 17;110(51):20831-6. *Co-senior author.
  2. The Effects of Diet and Exercise on Weight loss - When 2 Plus 2 Could Add Up To 22. Roche JA. Journal of Physiobiochemical Metabolism (Epub Aug 2012).
  3. Lack of correlation between outcomes of membrane repair assay and correction of dystrophic changes in experimental therapeutic strategy in dysferlinopathy. 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. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e38036. Epub 2012 May 29.2012.
  4. Distinct Effects of Contraction-induced Injury In Vivo on Four Different Murine Models of Dysferlinopathy. Roche JA, Ru LW, Bloch RJ. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:134031. Epub 2012 Feb 6.
  5. Physiological and histological changes in skeletal muscle following in vivo gene transfer by electroporation. Roche JA, Ford-Speelman DL, Ru LW, Densmore AL, Roche R, Reed PW, Bloch RJ. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):C1239-50. Epub 2011 Aug 10.
  6. Unmasking potential intracellular roles for dysferlin through improved immunolabeling methods. Roche JA, Ru LW, O'Neill AM, Resneck WG, Lovering RM, Bloch RJ. J Histochem Cytochem. 2011 Nov;59(11):964-75. Cover Image and Editor's Choice Featured Article for Nov 2011.
  7. An in vivo rodent model of contraction-induced injury and non-invasive monitoring of recovery. Lovering RM, Roche JA, Goodall MH, Clark BB, McMillan A. J Vis Exp. 2011 May 11;(51).
  8. Extensive mononuclear infiltration and myogenesis characterize the recovery of dysferlin-null skeletal muscle from contraction-induced injuries. Roche JA, Lovering RM, Roche R, Ru LW, Reed PW, Bloch RJ. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2010 Feb;298(2):C298-312.
  9. Genetic manipulation of dysferlin expression in skeletal muscle: Novel insights into muscular dystrophy. Millay PD, Maillet M, Roche JA, Sargent MA, McNally EM, Bloch RJ, Molkentin JD. Am J Pathol. 2009 Nov;175(5):1817-23. Epub 2009 Oct 15.
  10. The rhoGEF Domain of Obscurin Activates rhoA Signaling in Skeletal Muscle. Ford-Speelman DL, Roche JA, Bowman AL, Bloch RJ. Mol Biol Cell. 2009 Sep;20(17):3905-17. Epub 2009 Jul 15.
  11. Gait analysis of locomotory impairment in rats before and after neuromuscular injury. Tang W, Lovering RM, Roche JA, Bloch RJ, Neerchal NK, Tasch U. J Neurosci Methods. Neurosci Methods. 2009 Jul 30;181(2):249-56. Epub 2009 May 9.
  12. Phospholipid-Induced In Vivo Particle Migration to Enhance Pulmonary Deposition. Ganguly S, Moolchandani V, Roche JA, Shapiro PS, Somaraju S, Eddington ND, Dalby RN. J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2008 Dec;21(4):343-50.
  13. Impaired recovery of dysferlin-null skeletal muscle after contraction-induced injury in vivo. Roche JA, Lovering RM, Bloch RJ. Neuroreport. 2008 Oct 29;19(16):1579-84.
  14. Identification of skeletal muscle mutations in tail snips from neonatal mice using immunohistochemistry. Lovering RM, O'Neill A, Roche JA, Bloch RJ. Biotechniques. 2007 Jun;42(6):702, 704.
  15. Recovery of function in skeletal muscle following 2 different contraction-induced injuries. Lovering RM, Roche JA, Bloch RJ, De Deyne PG. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 May;88(5):617-25.