I hail from the Great White North, a product of the University of Toronto biochemistry machine. There, I obtained my Honours (with a 'U') Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, and a Masters in Biochemistry.
My masters thesis focused on understanding the contribution of a proteinaceous substructure within the nucleus, called the PML body, to transcriptional regulation. The Bazett-Jones lab planted the seed for what would become a long-term fascination with the little blue dot found at the center of a cell.
I did my Ph.D at Tulane University in New Orleans, under the supervision of Darwin Prockop. Two thirds of the way into my degree our lab nucleated the Texas A&M Institute for Regenerative Medicine. My work in the Prockop lab was devoted to understanding the mechanisms by which stromal cells isolated and expanded from the bone marrow (MSCs) contribute to tissue repair. I identified a molecule that was secreted by the MSCs, called Stanniocalcin-1 (STC1), that reduced cell death in injured cells. During my tenure in the lab, I described how STC1 acted as a anti-apoptotic protein, how the molecule regulated calcium signaling immediately after injury, and how STC1 facilitated its anti-apoptotic effects.
I joined the Miller lab in June 2009 with the goal of combining my interests in nuclear organization with cell therapy and stem cells. My goal is to develop creative assays to understand the pathogenesis of Facioscapulohumoral Muscular Dystrophy, a disease of a peculiar genetic lesion that has defied explanation for nearly 20 years.
Lemmers RJLF, Tawil R, Petek LM, Balgo, J, Block GJ, Santen GWE, Amell AM, van der Vliet PJ, Almomani R, Straasheijm KR, Krom YD, Klooster R, Sun Y, den Dunnen, JT, Helmer Q, Donlin-Smith CM, Padberg GW, van Engelen BGM, de Greef JC, Aartsma-Rus AM, Frants RR, de Visser M, Desnuelle C, Sacconi S, Filippova GN, Bakker B, Bamshad MJ, Tapscott SJ, Miller DG, van der Maarel SM. Digenic inheritance of an SMCHD1 mutation and an FSHD-permissive D4Z4 allele causes facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy type 2 (FSHD2). Nature Genetics. Published Online November 22, 2012
Block GJ, Petek LM, Narayanan D, Amell AM, Moore JM, Rabaia NA, Tyler A, van der Maarel SM, Tawil R, Filippova GN, and Miller DG. Asymmetric Bidirectional Transcription from the FSHD-causing D4Z4 Array Modulates DUX4 Production. PLoS One. Published Online April 20, 2012Balog J, Miller D, Sanchez-Curtailles E, Carbo-Marques J, Block G, Potman M, de Knijff P, Lemmers RJ, Tapscott SJ, van der Maarel SM. Epigenetic regulation of the X-chromosomal macrosatellite repeat encoding for the cancer/testis gene CT47. Eur J Hum Genet. 2012 Feb;20(2):185-91.
Ohkouchi S*, Block GJ*, Katsha AM, Kanehira M, Ebina M, Kikuchi T, Saijo Y, Nukiwa T, Prockop DJ. Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Protect Cancer Cells From ROS-induced Apoptosis and Enhance the Warburg Effect by Secreting STC1. Mol Ther. 2011 Dec 6. doi: 10.1038/mt.2011.259.
Sides MD, Block GJ, Shan B, Esteves KC, Lin Z, Flemington EK, Lasky JA. Arsenic mediated disruption of promyelocytic leukemia protein nuclear bodies induces ganciclovir susceptibility in Epstein-Barr positive epithelial cells. Virology. 2011 Jul 20;416(1-2):86-97. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2011.04.005.
Sides MD, Block GJ, Chadwick RW, Shan B, Flemington EK, Lasky JA. Epstein - Barr virus Latent Membrane Protein 1 suppresses reporter activity through modulation of promyelocytic leukemia protein-nuclear bodies. Virol J. 2011 Oct 5;8:461.
Block GJ, DiMattia GD, Prockop DJ. Stanniocalcin-1 regulates extracellular ATP-induced calcium waves in human epithelial cancer cells by stimulating ATP release from bystander cells. PLoS One. 2010 Apr 20;5(4):e10237.
Block GJ*, Ohkouchi S*, Fung F, Frenkel J, Gregory CA, Pochampally RP, Sullivan DS, DiMattia G, and Prockop DJ. Multipotent Stromal Cells (MSCs) are Activated to Reduce Apoptosis in Part by Upregulation and Secretion of Stanniocalcin-1 (STC-1). Stem Cells. 2008 Dec. Epub ahead of print.
Lee YC, Block G, Chen H, Folch-Puy E, Foronjy R, Jalili R, Jendresen CB, Kimura M, Kraft E, Lindemose S, Lu J, McLain T, Nutt L, Ramon-Garcia S, Smith J, Spivak A, Wang ML, Zanic M, Lin SH. One-step isolation of plasma membrane proteins using magnetic beads with immobilized concanavalin A. Protein Expr Purif. 2008 Dec;62(2):223-9.
Block GJ, Eskiw CH, Dellaire G, Bazett-Jones DP. Transcriptional regulation is affected by subnuclear targeting of reporter plasmids to PML nuclear bodies. Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Dec;26(23):8814-25.
Aitken KJ, Block G, Lorenzo A, Herz D, Sabha N, Dessouki O, Fung F, Szybowska M, Craig L, Bagli DJ. Mechanotransduction of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 mitogen-activated protein kinase activity in smooth muscle is dependent on the extracellular matrix and regulated by matrix metalloproteinases. Am J Pathol. 2006 Aug;169(2):459-70.
* Equal Contribution