Bookmark and Share

Robert J. Bloch

Robert J. Bloch Ph.D.

Academic Title: Professor
Primary Appointment: Physiology
Secondary Appointments: Orthopaedics
Location: HSF-I, 580C
Phone: (410) 706-3020
Fax: (410) 706-8341
Lab: (410) 706-2665

Personal History:


  • 1967: A.B., Columbia University, Biological Sciences 
  • 1972: Ph.D., Harvard University, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 



  • 1990-present: Professor, with tenure, Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
  • 2013-present: Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD


  • 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
  • 1967-1972: Graduate Student, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program, Harvard University

Research Interests:

  • Organization of the Plasma Membrane and Intracellular Membranes in Excitable Cells
  • Acetylcholine Receptors
  • Synapse Formation
  • Organization of Striated Muscle Membrane-associated Cytoskeleton
  • Myofibrillogenesis
  • Muscular Dystrophies and Related Cardiomyopathies

Lab Techniques and Equipment:

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Muscle Physiology
  • Muscle Ultrastructure
  • Biacore and Surface Plasmon Resonance
  • Xenografting

Laboratory Personnel:

  • Joaquin Muriel-Gonzalez (Research Associate) Structure and function of intermediate filaments and dysferlin in skeletal muscle
  • Valeriy Lukyanenko (Senior Research Analyst) Sysferlin and Ca2+ signaling
  • Yinghua Zhang (Research Associate) Studies of protein-protein interaction with surface plasmon resonance
  • Paraskevi Sakellariou (Postdoctoral Fellow) Xenografting human myogenic cells into mice for studies of muscular dystrophy
  • Karla Garcia-Pelagio (Postdoctoral Fellow) Molecular biological and biomechanical studies of the role of intermediate filaments in skeletal muscle
  • Patrick Desmond (Graduate Student) Small ankyrin 1 as a regulator of the structure and function of the sarcoplasmic reticulum in striated muscle
  • Andrea O’Neill (Senior Research Assistant) Cell and molecular studies of mice null for intermediate filament proteins, especially keratins and desmin
  • Amber Mueller (Graduate Student) Xenografting
  • Emily Kleinhans (Research Assistant) Molecular biological studies of structural proteins in muscle

Grants and Contracts:

My current grants are from the NIH (one RO1 and one R21, from NIAMS and NINDS, respectively), the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Jain Foundation.


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 Muscle. J. Cell Biol. 117:997-1005.

Luther, P.W., Samuelsson, S.J., Bloch, R.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., Scher, M.G., Resneck, W.G., Porter, N.C., Fowler, V. and Bloch, R.J. (1997) Two Populations of Beta-Spectrin in Rat Skeletal Muscle. Cell 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 Muscle. J.Cell Biol. 136:621-631.

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 Subunit. J. 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 Clustering. Molec. Cell. Neurosci. 11:274-288.

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

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

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.

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 Costameres. Molec. Biol. Cell 13: 2347-2359.

Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos, A., and Bloch, R.J. (2003) The Hydrophilic Domain of Small Ankyrin 1 Interacts with the Two NH2-terminal Immunoglobulin Domains of Titin. J. 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 Muscle. Molec. Biol. Cell 14: 1138-1148.

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

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

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 Mouse. Muscle & 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

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 Obscurin. J. 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 dystrophy. Exptl. 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 Reorganization. J. Cell Sci. 120, 3999-4008.

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-line, Mol. 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 vivo. NeuroReport 19:1579-1584. PMCID: PMC2662728

Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos, A., M.A. Ackerman, A.L. Bowman, S.L. Yap and R.J. Bloch (2009) Muscle Giants: Molecular Scaffolds in Sarcomerogenesis. Physiol. 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 Muscle. Mol. Biol. Cell 20:3905-3917. PMCID: PMC2735489

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 injuries. Am. 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 muscle. Biophys. 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 1. Biochem. 49, 9948-9956. PMCID: PMC3000613

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 Spines. PLoS 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 Mice. J. 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 Filaments. Am. 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 Studies. J. 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 1. J. 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 methods. J. 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 Electroporation. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 301, C1239-C1250. PMCID: PMC3213910

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 Cardiomyocytes. FASEB 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 Dysferlinopathy. J. 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 Muscle. Electrophoresis 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 Changes. PlOS 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 Filaments. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 303, C224-C232.  PMCID: PMC3404518

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 membrane. Proc. Natl. Acad. USA 110, 20831-20836. PMCID: PMC3870721

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