University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Robert Blelloch, MD, PhD

Robert Blelloch, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Urology, UCSF
Peter R. Carroll, MD, Endowed Chair, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Prostate Cancer

Research Summary

My interest is in the role of non-coding small RNAs in stem cells, reprogramming, development and cancer. I did my PhD in the lab of Dr. Judith Kimble, where I studied the genetics of organ development in C. elegans. I also studied signaling pathways that regulate germline development. Following my clinical residency and fellowship, I expanded my research interests into the areas of epigenetics, reprogramming, stem cells, and mammalian development under the mentorship of another internationally renowned investigator, Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch. I have been an independent investigator since January 2006, in which time my laboratory has published over 30 primary papers in high-impact journals, including Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Cell, Cell Stem Cell, Cell Reports, Genes and Development, and Current Biology. Our papers have been cited over 4000 times. I was promoted to professor in the summer of 2013, as a result of my development into an internationally recognized leader in post-transcriptional regulation of pluripotency and early mammalian development.


Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, B.S., 5/1989, Zoology
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, M.A.T., 5/1990, Biology
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, Ph.D., 5/1999, Cell & Molec Biology
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, M.D., 5/2001, Medicine

Professional Experience

  • 7/01 - 7/02
    Resident, Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • 3/03 - 7/02
    Chief Resident, Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • 7/04 - 7/02
    Clinical Fellow, Harvard Medical School Joint Program of Transfusion Medicine
  • 8/02 - 12/02
    Post-Doctoral Fellow, Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research
  • 12/05 - 7/10
    Assistant Professor, Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Departments of Urology and Pathology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 7/10 - present
    Associate Professor, UCSF
  • 7/10 - present
    Chair, UCSF Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Admissions Committee

Honors & Awards

  • 2000-2001
    Rath Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellow
  • 2001
    GATE Pharmaceuticals Outstanding Medical Student Award
  • 2001
    Alpha Omega Alpha (Medical Student Honor Society)
  • 2001
    University of Wisconsin-Madison Commencement Student Speaker
  • 2004
    Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award with Distinction
  • 2006-
    Peter Carroll Endowed Chair
  • 2007-2011
    Pew Scholar
  • 2009
    Kavli Fellow (National Academy of Sciences
  • 2011
    International Society of Stem Cell Research Outstanding Young Investigator Award.

Selected Publications

  1. Zhou X, Nair GG, Russ HA, Belair CD, Li ML, Shveygert M, Hebrok M, Blelloch R. LIN28B Impairs the Transition of hESC-Derived ß Cells from the Juvenile to Adult State. Stem Cell Reports. 2020 01 14; 14(1):9-20.
    View on PubMed
  2. Gökbuget D, Blelloch R. Epigenetic control of transcriptional regulation in pluripotency and early differentiation. Development. 2019 09 25; 146(19).
    View on PubMed
  3. Poggio M, Hu T, Pai CC, Chu B, Belair CD, Chang A, Montabana E, Lang UE, Fu Q, Fong L, Blelloch R. Suppression of Exosomal PD-L1 Induces Systemic Anti-tumor Immunity and Memory. Cell. 2019 04 04; 177(2):414-427.e13.
    View on PubMed
  4. Belair CD, Hu T, Chu B, Freimer JW, Cooperberg MR, Blelloch RH. High-throughput, Efficient, and Unbiased Capture of Small RNAs from Low-input Samples for Sequencing. Sci Rep. 2019 02 19; 9(1):2262.
    View on PubMed
  5. Krishnakumar R, Chen AF, Pantovich MG, Danial M, Parchem RJ, Labosky PA, Blelloch R. FOXD3 Regulates Pluripotent Stem Cell Potential by Simultaneously Initiating and Repressing Enhancer Activity. Cell Stem Cell. 2018 Aug 02; 23(2):306-307.
    View on PubMed
  6. Freimer JW, Hu TJ, Blelloch R. Decoupling the impact of microRNAs on translational repression versus RNA degradation in embryonic stem cells. Elife. 2018 07 25; 7.
    View on PubMed
  7. Chen AF, Liu AJ, Krishnakumar R, Freimer JW, DeVeale B, Blelloch R. GRHL2-Dependent Enhancer Switching Maintains a Pluripotent Stem Cell Transcriptional Subnetwork after Exit from Naive Pluripotency. Cell Stem Cell. 2018 Aug 02; 23(2):226-238.e4.
    View on PubMed
  8. Freimer JW, Krishnakumar R, Cook MS, Blelloch R. Expression of Alternative Ago2 Isoform Associated with Loss of microRNA-Driven Translational Repression in Mouse Oocytes. Curr Biol. 2018 01 22; 28(2):296-302.e3.
    View on PubMed
  9. Paikari A, D Belair C, Saw D, Blelloch R. The eutheria-specific miR-290 cluster modulates placental growth and maternal-fetal transport. Development. 2017 10 15; 144(20):3731-3743.
    View on PubMed
  10. Ye J, Jin H, Pankov A, Song JS, Blelloch R. NF45 and NF90/NF110 coordinately regulate ESC pluripotency and differentiation. RNA. 2017 08; 23(8):1270-1284.
    View on PubMed
  11. Curtis A, Li DJ, DeVeale B, Onishi K, Kim MY, Blelloch R, Laird DJ, Hui EE. Patterning of sharp cellular interfaces with a reconfigurable elastic substrate. Integr Biol (Camb). 2017 01 23; 9(1):50-57.
    View on PubMed
  12. Gambardella G, Carissimo A, Chen A, Cutillo L, Nowakowski TJ, di Bernardo D, Blelloch R. The impact of microRNAs on transcriptional heterogeneity and gene co-expression across single embryonic stem cells. Nat Commun. 2017 01 19; 8:14126.
    View on PubMed
  13. D'Aniello C, Habibi E, Cermola F, Paris D, Russo F, Fiorenzano A, Di Napoli G, Melck DJ, Cobellis G, Angelini C, Fico A, Blelloch R, Motta A, Stunnenberg HG, De Cesare D, Patriarca EJ, Minchiotti G. Vitamin C and l-Proline Antagonistic Effects Capture Alternative States in the Pluripotency Continuum. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 01 10; 8(1):1-10.
    View on PubMed
  14. Coffre M, Benhamou D, Rieß D, Blumenberg L, Snetkova V, Hines MJ, Chakraborty T, Bajwa S, Jensen K, Chong MMW, Getu L, Silverman GJ, Blelloch R, Littman DR, Calado D, Melamed D, Skok JA, Rajewsky K, Koralov SB. miRNAs Are Essential for the Regulation of the PI3K/AKT/FOXO Pathway and Receptor Editing during B Cell Maturation. Cell Rep. 2016 11 22; 17(9):2271-2285.
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  15. Tran ND, Kissner M, Subramanyam D, Parchem RJ, Laird DJ, Blelloch RH. A miR-372/let-7 Axis Regulates Human Germ Versus Somatic Cell Fates. Stem Cells. 2016 07; 34(7):1985-91.
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  16. Krishnakumar R, Chen AF, Pantovich MG, Danial M, Parchem RJ, Labosky PA, Blelloch R. FOXD3 Regulates Pluripotent Stem Cell Potential by Simultaneously Initiating and Repressing Enhancer Activity. Cell Stem Cell. 2016 Jan 07; 18(1):104-17.
    View on PubMed
  17. Wang ES, Reyes NA, Melton C, Huskey NE, Momcilovic O, Goga A, Blelloch R, Oakes SA. Fas-Activated Mitochondrial Apoptosis Culls Stalled Embryonic Stem Cells to Promote Differentiation. Curr Biol. 2015 Dec 07; 25(23):3110-8.
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  18. Patton JG, Franklin JL, Weaver AM, Vickers K, Zhang B, Coffey RJ, Ansel KM, Blelloch R, Goga A, Huang B, L'Etoille N, Raffai RL, Lai CP, Krichevsky AM, Mateescu B, Greiner VJ, Hunter C, Voinnet O, McManus MT. Biogenesis, delivery, and function of extracellular RNA. J Extracell Vesicles. 2015; 4:27494.
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  19. Belair CD, Paikari A, Moltzahn F, Shenoy A, Yau C, Dall'Era M, Simko J, Benz C, Blelloch R. DGCR8 is essential for tumor progression following PTEN loss in the prostate. EMBO Rep. 2015 Sep; 16(9):1219-32.
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  20. Parchem RJ, Moore N, Fish JL, Parchem JG, Braga TT, Shenoy A, Oldham MC, Rubenstein JL, Schneider RA, Blelloch R. miR-302 Is Required for Timing of Neural Differentiation, Neural Tube Closure, and Embryonic Viability. Cell Rep. 2015 Aug 04; 12(5):760-73.
    View on PubMed

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