Gerd A. Blobel, MD, PhD

faculty photo
Professor of Pediatrics
Department: Pediatrics

Contact information
316H Abramson Research Center
3615 Civic Center Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 590-3988
Fax: (215) 590-4834
Lab: (215) 590-4461
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
higher order chromatin structure, gene expression, epigenetics, globin genes, sickle cell disease, therapeutics

Description of Research
We study how genetic regulatory elements are organized spatially in the nucleus and how transcription programs and chromatin architecture are organized throughout the cell cycle to maintain lineage identity. A major effort in the lab is directed towards understanding the regulation of globin gene expression and developing approaches to perturb globin gene expression to ameliorate sickle cell disease. Our work bridges basic science with pre-clinical studies. We combine molecular, genomic, biochemical, and imaging approaches with studies in normal and gene targeted mice.

Lab Rotation Projects:
For information about rotation projects please contact me directly.

Lab personnel:
Talla Abbas, technician
Nick Aboreden, graduate student
Rahul Bhansali, MD, postdoctoral fellow
Paul Kaminski, combined degree student
Eugene Khandros, MD-PhD, assistant professor
Jessica Lam, combined degree student
Susannah Midla, technician
Scott Peslak, MD-PhD, instructor
Kunhua Qin, PhD, postdoctoral fellow
Megan Saari, technician
Vanessa Shehu, technician
Josephine Thrasher, technician
Liz Traxler, MD-PhD, postdoctoral fellow
Ikram Ullah, PhD, postdoctoral fellow
Siqing Wang, PhD, postdoctoral fellow
Xiang Wang, PhD, postdoctoral fellow
Xiaokang Wang, PhD, postdoctoral fellow
Michael Willcockson, MD-PhD, pediatrics resident

Selected Publications

Luan J, Vermunt MW, Syrett CM, Coté A, Tome JM, Zhang H, Huang A, Luppino JM, Keller CA, Giardine BM, Zhang S, Dunagin MC, Zhang Z, Joyce EF, Lis JT, Raj A, Hardison RC, Blobel GA.: CTCF blocks antisense transcription initiation at divergent promoters. Nat Struct Mol Biol 2022.

Qin K, Huang P, Feng R, Keller CA, Peslak SA, Khandros E, Saari MS, Lan X, Mayuranathan T, Doerfler PA, Abdulmalik O, Giardine B, Chou ST, Shi J, Hardison RC, Weiss MJ, Blobel GA.: Dual function NFI factors control fetal hemoglobin silencing in adult erythroid cells. Nat Genet 2022.

Zhang H, Lam J, Zhang D, Lan Y, Vermunt MW, Keller CA, Giardine B, Hardison RC, Blobel GA.: CTCF and transcription influence chromatin structure re-configuration after mitosis. Nat Commun 12: 5157, Aug 2021.

Luan J, Xiang G, Gómez-García PA, Tome JM, Zhang Z, Vermunt MW, Zhang H, Huang A, Keller CA, Giardine BM, Zhang Y, Lan Y, Lis JT, Lakadamyali M, Hardison RC, Blobel GA.: Distinct properties and functions of CTCF revealed by a rapidly inducible degron system. Cell Rep 34: 108783, Feb 2021.

Lan X, Ren R, Feng R, Ly LC, Lan Y, Zhang Z, Aboreden N, Qin K, Horton JR, Grevet JD, Mayuranathan T, Abdulmalik O, Keller CA, Giardine B, Hardison RC, Crossley M, Weiss MJ, Cheng X, Shi J, Blobel GA.: ZNF410 Uniquely Activates the NuRD Component CHD4 to Silence Fetal Hemoglobin Expression. Mol Cell 81: 239-254, Jan 2021.

Zhang D, Huang P, Sharma M, Keller CA, Giardine B, Zhang H, Gilgenast TG, Phillips-Cremins JE, Hardison RC, Blobel GA.: Alteration of genome folding via contact domain boundary insertion. Nat Genet 52: 1076-1087, Oct 2020.

Zhang Haoyue, Emerson Daniel J, Gilgenast Thomas G, Titus Katelyn R, Lan Yemin, Huang Peng, Zhang Di, Wang Hongxin, Keller Cheryl A, Giardine Belinda, Hardison Ross C, Phillips-Cremins Jennifer E, Blobel Gerd A: Chromatin structure dynamics during the mitosis-to-G1 phase transition. Nature 576(7785): 158-162, 12 2019.

Behera Vivek, Stonestrom Aaron J, Hamagami Nicole, Hsiung Chris C, Keller Cheryl A, Giardine Belinda, Sidoli Simone, Yuan Zuo-Fei, Bhanu Natarajan V, Werner Michael T, Wang Hongxin, Garcia Benjamin A, Hardison Ross C, Blobel Gerd A: Interrogating Histone Acetylation and BRD4 as Mitotic Bookmarks of Transcription. Cell reports 27(2): 400-415.e5, Apr 2019.

Bartman CR, Hamagami N, Keller CA, Giardine B, Hardison RC, Blobel GA, Raj A: Transcriptional Burst Initiation and Polymerase Pause Release Are Key Control Points of Transcriptional Regulation. Molecular Cell 2019.

Grevet JD, Lan X, Hamagami N, Edwards CR, Sankaranarayanan L, Ji X, Bhardwaj SK, Face CJ, Posocco DF, Abdulmalik O, Keller CA, Giardine B, Sidoli S, Garcia BA, Chou ST, Liebhaber SA, Hardison RC, Shi J, and Blobel GA: Domain-focused CRISPR-screen identifies HRI as a fetal hemoglobin regulator in human erythroid cells. Science 2018.

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Last updated: 01/31/2023
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