Photo of Donald Bloch

Donald Bloch, MD

The Bloch Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital investigates the putative infectious agent or agents that initiate autoimmune disease.


Principal Investigator, Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital

Associate Physician, Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


The long-term objective of Dr. Bloch's research is to identify the putative infectious agent or agents that initiate autoimmune disease. This goal is especially difficult to attain because the first events that trigger an autoimmune disease may occur years, if not decades, before the occurrence of clinical symptoms. Recent studies show that autoantibodies may be detected many years prior to clinical manifestations of disease. Autoantibodies, and the antigens that they recognize, may provide the only clues to the events that occurred early in the course of the disease. A second objective of Dr. Bloch's research is to identify and characterize novel subcellular, macromolecular structures. Previous investigators have shown that the antigens recognized by human autoantibodies have critical roles in cellular biology. Dr. Bloch has taken advantage of autoantibodies, and recent advances in proteomics, to characterize novel structures in the cell nucleus and cytoplasm.

Dr. Bloch has used the autoimmune disease primary biliary cirrhosis as a model system. He described the spectrum and clinical significance of autoantibodies in 493 patients with this disorder. He has focused on autoantigens that are present in two specific cellular structures: the PML nuclear body and the cytoplasmic mRNA processing body.

Group Members

Principal Investigator:

  • Donald Bloch, MD


Research Projects

  • The PML-nuclear body
  • The mammalian, cytoplasmic mRNA processing body
  • The new serology of primary biliary cirrhosis



Contact Us

Bloch Laboratory

Thier 5

55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726-3780
  • Fax: 617-726-2872
  • Email Us

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