Rob Blank is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition. He holds secondary appointments in the departments of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy and Physiology. He is Director of the TOPS Obesity Center and a trainer in the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences. He holds undergraduate degrees from Columbia University (history and philosophy of science) and the University of Cambridge (genetics). He earned his MD and PhD (basic medical sciences/biochemistry) degrees at New York University and trained in internal medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell. He remained at Weill Cornell and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for an endocrinology fellowship. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University. On completing his training, he remained at the tri-institutional campus as a faculty member at the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Weill-Cornell College of Medicine before moving to the University of Wisconsin in 2000. He remained there until 2013, when he joined the Medical College of Wisconsin faculty.
Dr. Blank's laboratory studies the genetics of bone biomechanical performance and of vertebral development, primarily in mice. We are particularly interested in understanding the relationship among different aspects of biomechanical performance and the mechanisms underlying pleiotropy of bone quantitative trait loci. We are currently studying a quantitative trait locus that affects multiple aspects of bone size and shape, whose pleiotropy extends to include important cardiovascular and reproductive phenotypes. Fully understanding the underlying biology is a prominent goal of our present work. We are also interested in understanding the genetic basis of congenital vertebral malformations and idiopathic scoliosis.
Dr. Blank is actively engaged in education. He is a trainer in the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences. He is also a trainer in the University of Wisconsin's Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology training program, and is thesis advisor to 2 PhD students in the program. He is the author of several articles on educational topics.
In the clinic, Dr. Blank focuses on metabolic bone disease, disorders of mineral metabolism, and genetic endocrine diseases. Because his clinical practice includes many patients with parathyroid disease and with developmental anomalies of the skeleton, Dr. Blank works closely with the Endocrine Surgery Program and the Genetic Counseling Program, both of which are hosted by the Cancer Center.