Gerd A. Blobel MD, PhD, holds the Frank E. Weise III Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Blobel earned his MD degree from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and a PhD degree from Rockefeller University in New York. His lab focuses on the genetic and epigenetic control of hematopoiesis and its disorders. Specifically, he studies how tissue-specific transcription factors govern the specification and maintenance of hematopoietic cell lineages. He also examines how transcription programs are epigenetically transmitted through mitosis to maintain lineage identity, and how genetic regulatory elements are organized spatially within the nucleus. He has given numerous lectures at international conferences on hematopoiesis, transcription, and epigenetics. Dr. Blobel has been continually funded by the NIH since arriving at Penn and holds a MERIT award. He was elected to the ASCI (2004) and AAP (2008). Dr. Blobel is the co-director of the Epigenetics Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Education and Training
MD - Ruprecht-Karls University, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
PhD in Molecular Oncology - Rockefeller University, New York, NY
Titles and Academic Titles
Frank E. Weise III Professor of Pediatrics
Departments and Services
Areas of Focus
Laboratories & Research Programs
Bartman C.R., Hsu S.C., Hsiung C.C.-S., Raj A., and Blobel G.A. (2016) Enhancer regulation of transcriptional bursting parameters revealed by forced chromatin looping. Molecular Cell. 62(2):237-47
Paralkar V.R., Taborda C.C., Huang P., Yao Y., Kossenkov A.V., Prasad R., Luan J., Davies J.O.J., Hughes J.R., Hardison R.C., Blobel G.A., Weiss M.J. (2016) Unlinking a lncRNA from its associated cis element. Molecular Cell. 62:104-110 (Preview in Molecular Cell)
Edwards C.R., Middleton R., Ritchie W., An X., Mohandas N., Rasko J.E.J., Blobel G.A. (2016) A Dynamic Intron Retention Program in the Mammalian Megakaryocyte and Erythrocyte Lineages. Blood 01-692764
Naraparaju K., Kolla V., Zhuang T., Higashi M., Iyer R., Kolla S., Okawa E.R., Blobel G.A., and Brodeur G.M. (2016) Role of microRNAs in Epigenetic Silencing of the CHD5 Tumor Suppressor Gene in Neuroblastomas. Oncotarget. [Epub ahead of print]
Lee K., Hsiung C.C.-S., Huang P., Raj A. and Blobel G.A. (2015) Dynamic enhancer-gene body contacts during transcription elongation. Genes Dev., 29:1992-1997.
Bartman C.R., Blobel G.A. (2015) Perturbing chromatin structure to understand mechanisms of gene expression. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. [Epub ahead of print]
Blobel G.A., Bodine D., Brand M., Crispino J., De Bruijn M., Nathan D., Pappayannopoulou T., Porcher C., Strouboulis J., Zon L., Higgs D.R., Stamatoyannopoulos G., and Engel J.D. (2015) An international effort to cure a global health problem: a report on the 19th hemoglobin switching conference. Exp Hematol. 43:821-837
Dogan N., Wu W., Morrissey C.S., Chen K.B., Stonestrom A., Long M., Keller C.A., Cheng Y., Jain D., Visel A., Pennacchio L.A., Weiss M.J., Blobel G.A., and Hardison R.C. (2015) Occupancy by key transcription factors is a more accurate predictor of enhancer activity than histone modifications or chromatin accessibility. Epigenetics and Chromatin: 8:16.
Kolla V., Naraparaju K., Zhuang T., Higashi M., Kolla S., Blobel G.A., and Brodeur G.M. (2015) The tumor suppressor CHD5 forms a NuRD-type chromatin remodeling complex. Biochem J. 468:345-52.
Bryant J.M., Donahue G., Wang X., Meyer-Ficca M., Otte G.L., Luense L.J., Bartolomei M.S., Blobel G.A., Meyer R.G., Garcia B.A., and Berger S.L. (2015) Characterization of BRD4 during mammalian postmeiotic sperm development. Mol. Cell. Biol. 35:1433-1448.
Stonestrom A.J., Hsu S.C., Jahn K.S., Huang P., Keller C.A., Giardine B.M., Kadauke S., Campbell A.E., Evans P., Hardison R.C., and Blobel G.A. (2015) Function of BET proteins in erythroid gene expression. Blood. 125:2825-34. (highlighted in Blood preview)
Byrska-Bishop M., VanDorn D., Campbell A.E., Betensky M., Arca P.R., Yao Y., Gadue P., Costas F.F., Nemiroff R.L., Blobel G.A., French D.L., Hardison R.C., Weiss M.J., Chou S.T. (2015) Role for the GATA1 amino terminus in erythroid differentiation revealed through pluripotent stem cells. J Clin Invest. 125:993-1005.
Hsiung C. C.-S., Morrissey C., Udugama M., Frank C.L., Keller C.A., Baek S., Giardine B., Crawford G.E., Sung M.-H., Hardison R.C., Blobel G.A. (2015) Genome accessibility is widely preserved and locally modulated during mitosis. Genome Research, 2:213-25.
Grevet J.D., Blobel G.A. (2014) Keeping fetal hemoglobin in the loop. Cell Cycle 13:3153-3154.
The mouse ENCODE Consortium. Cheng Y., et al. (2014) Principles of regulatory information conservation between mouse and human. Nature, 515:371-375.
The mouse ENCODE Consortium. Yue F., Cheng Y., et al. (2014) A Comparative Encyclopedia of DNA Elements in the Mouse Genome. Nature, 515:355-364.
Yashiro-Ohtani Y., Wang H., Zang C., Arnett K.L., Bailis W., Ho Y., Knoechel B., Lanauze C., Louis L., Chung Y., Schug J., Blobel G.A., Liebhaber S.A., Bernstein B.E., Stephen C. Blacklow S.C., Shirley Liu X.S., Aster J.C., Pear W.S. (2014) Long-range enhancer activity determines Myc sensitivity to Notch inhibitors in T cell leukemia. PNAS, 111:E4946-4953.
Pimkin M., Kossenkov A.V., Mishra T., Morrissey C.S., Wu W., Keller C.A., Blobel G.A., Lee D., Beer M.A., Hardison R.C., Weiss M.J. (2014) Divergent functions of hematopoietic transcription factors in lineage priming and differentiation during erythro-megakaryopoiesis. Genome Research, 2014 Oct 15. pii: gr.164178.113. [Epub ahead of print].
Wu W., Morrissey C.S., Keller C.A., Mishra T., Pimkin M., Blobel G.A., Weiss M.J., Hardison R.C. (2014) Dynamic shifts in occupancy by TAL1 are guided by GATA factors and drive large-scale reprogramming of gene expression during hematopoiesis. Genome Research, 24:1945-1962
Clifton M.K.; Westman B.J.; Thong S.Y.; O'Connell M.R.; Webster M.W.; Shepherd N.E.; Quinlan K.G.; Crossley M.; Blobel G.A.; Mackay J. (2014) The identification and structure of an N-terminal PR domain show that FOG1 is a member of the PRDM family of proteins. PLoS One 9(8):e106011.
Deng W., Rupon J.W., Krivega, I., Breda L., Motta, I., Jahn K.S., Reik A., Gregory P.D., Rivella S., Dean A., Blobel G.A. (2014) Reactivation of developmentally silenced globin gene expression by forced chromatin looping. Cell 158:849-860. Selected by Faculty of 1000, and highlighted in Nature Genetics.
Alqarni S.S.M., Murthy A., Zhang W., Przewloka M.R., Silva A.P.G., Watson A.A., Lejon S., Pei X.Y., Wang H., Shephard N.E., Stokes P.H., Blobel G.A., Glover D.M., Mackay J.P., Laue E.D. (2013) Insight into the architecture of the NuRD complex: Structure of the RbAp48-MTA1 sub-complex. J. Biol. Chem. 289:21844-55.
Deng W. and Blobel G.A. (2014) Manipulating nuclear architecture. Curr Opin Genet Dev, 25:1-7.
Campbell A.E., Hsiung C. C.-S., Blobel G.A. (2014) Comparative analysis of mitosis specific antibodies for bulk purification of mitotic populations by fluorescence activated cell sorting. Biotechniques 56:90-94. (Cover story)
Posters and Presentations
Lectures by Invitation
5-25-16 Vanderbilt University. “Functions, mechanisms, and therapeutic potential of chromatin looping.”
2-21-16 Keystone Symposium on Enhancer Malfunction in Cancer. Session Chair, speaker: “A hyperactive transcriptional state marks genome reactivation during mitotic exit.”
1-20-16 Molecular Medicine Seminar speaker, University of Connecticut Health Center: “Functions, mechanisms, and therapeutic potential of chromatin looping."
1-11-16 Distinguished Seminar Speaker: Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Epigenetics program, Philadelphia, PA “Mechanisms, functions and therapeutic potential of chromatin looping."
12-18-15 Danny Thomas Lecture. St. Jude Children's Hospital, Memphis TN. “’Editing’ genome architecture to treat hemoglobinopathies.”
12-14-15 Joint Seminar Series, Department and Cancer Biology’s and Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA “Propagating transcriptional patterns through mitosis.”
2-5-15 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting Orlando, FL “A Hyperactive Transcriptional State Marks Genome Reactivation during Mitotic Exit.”
11-20-15 Pfizer, Cambridge, MA, “Editing genome architecture to treat hemoglobinopathies.”
11-18-15 The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Grand Rounds “Editing genome architecture to treat disease.”
11-10-15 Distinguished Speaker Seminar Series. Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at University of Southern California “Propagating transcriptional patterns through mitosis.”
10-23-15 Pasteur Institute, Paris. “Propagating transcriptional patterns through mitosis.”
10-1-15 Blue Top Seminar Series, Harvard Medical School: “Propagating transcriptional patterns through mitosis.”
9-10-15 Transcription Imaging Consortium, HHMI Janelia Farm Research campus: “Influence of mitosis on transcriptional control.”
9-9-15 Cardeza Foundation for Hematologic Research, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA: ”Editing" genome folding to alter gene expression.
6-29-15 Gordon Research Conference on Red Cells. Holderness, NH “Propagating transcriptional patterns through mitosis.”
6-28-15 Gordon Research Seminars. Holderness, NH “Developing a career as a scientist.”
6-11-15 Biogen Cambridge, MA. ”Editing” genome folding to alter gene expression.
5-26-15 The 80th Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Symposium on Quantitative Biology on 21st Century Genetics: Genes at Work.” Editing genome folding to alter gene expression.
5-6-15 EMBO Conference on Chromatin and Epigenetics, Heidelberg, Germany: “Propagating transcription patterns through mitosis.”
3-6-15 Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, UK: “Functions, mechanisms and therapeutic potential of chromatin looping.”
1-22-15 Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD: “Functions, mechanisms and therapeutic potential of chromatin looping.”
1-21-15 Translational Research Conference Johns Hopkins University Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD: “Functions, mechanisms and therapeutic potential of chromatin looping.”
12-6-14 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting, New Orleans: “Mechanistic Insights into Forced Chromatin Looping Mediated Activation of Fetal Globin Gene Expression.”
11-6-14 Michigan State University, Lansing, MI: “Functions, mechanisms and therapeutic potential of chromatin looping.”
10-19-14 Transcription Imaging Consortium Meeting, HHMI, Janelia Farm "Reactivating the silent genome after mitosis."
9-24-14 New York Blood Center “Activation of fetal globin expression by forced chromatin looping."
9-19-14 Keynote speaker, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology retreat, Penn State University. “Functions, mechanisms and therapeutic potential of chromatin looping.”
9-5-14 The 19th Conference on Hemoglobin Switching, Oxford, UK. Session Chair. Speaker: “Activation of fetal globin expression by forced chromatin looping.”
8-21-14 Cold Spring Harbor Conference on The Dynamic Organization of Nuclear Function. Chris Hsiung presenter: “The chromatin accessibility landscape of the mitotic genome.”
6-22-14 FASEB conference on Technologies for Controlling Gene Expression, Nassau, Bahamas, Session Chair; Speaker: “Controlling long range chromatin interactions.”
4-10-14 University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA: "Function and regulation of higher order chromatin interactions."
4-4-14 Interurban Clinical Club, Philadelphia, PA “Reactivation of developmentally silenced globin genes by forced chromatin looping.”
3-9-14 Conference on Long-Range Genome Organization and Transcription Dynamics, HHMI Janelia Farm Research campus "Exploring long range chromatin loops."
2-24-14 Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney: “Propagating Transcriptional Patterns Through Mitosis.”
2-19-14 Asian Conference of Transcription. Melbourne, Australia, Plenary speaker: “Reprogramming the β-globin locus by forced chromatin looping."
2-11-14 Distinguished Lecturer for the Leading Edge of Cell Biology Seminar Series at UT Southwestern, Dallas, TX. “Organization and function of chromatin loops.”
1-22-14 University of California Irvine: “Functions and mechanisms of long range chromatin interactions."
Awards and Honors
2015, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Mentor Award
2014, Stanley N. Cohen Biomedical Research Award
2013, Foerderer Innovation Grant Award
2010, MERIT award 2R37DK058044
2008, The Frank E. Weise III Endowed Chair in Hematology
2008, Foerderer Innovation Grant Award
2008, Pilot project grant, Abramson Cancer Center
2007, Pilot grant, Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases
2007, Pilot project grant, Abramson Cancer Center
2001, Pilot grant from the Institute of Human Gene Therapy
1998, American Society of Hematology (ASH) Scholar Award
1998, Cooley’s Anemia Foundation Junior Faculty Award
1997, Baldasare Award
1997, Florence R.C. Murray Award
1997, Florence R.C. Murray Award
1992, Training grant, German Research Foundation (DFG)
1986, M.D. degree conferred, summa cum laude
and Culture of the State of Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Editorial and Academic Positions
Epigenetics & Chromatin
Genes and Development
International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Journal of Cell Biology
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Journal of Leukocyte Biology
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Nature Cell Biology
Nature Structural and Molecular Biology
Nucleic Acids Research
Science Translational Medicine
Academic, Institutional and Scientific Committees
2014, NIH Think Tank 4D Nucleome
2013-2017, American Society of Hematology (ASH) Scientific Committee on Red Cell Biology
Graduate Group in Cell and Molecular Biology (GGR)
Graduate Group in Cancer Biology
Graduate Group in Pharmacological Sciences
Graduate Group in Immunology
Combined Degree Admissions/Advisory Committee
CAMB Admissions Committee
Cancer Biology Admissions Committee
Executive Board Member, Epigenetics Program
Leadership and Memberships
Memberships in Professional Organizations
American Society of Hematology
American Society for Microbiology
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI)
Member, Association of American Physicians (AAP)
Patient Experience Ratings
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