2012–present VIMM group leader

2011–present Researcher at the Department of Biosciences, University of Padua, Italy

2008–2011 Postdoc at the VIMM, Padova, Italy

2005-2008 Ph.D. in Neurobiology, University of Padua, Italy

1997–2004 Degree in Applied Physics, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Electroporation of a constitutively active form of Akt leads to a rapid fiber hypertrophy
Electroporation of a constitutively active form of Akt leads to a rapid fiber hypertrophy

Field of interest: Adult skeletal muscle is an extremely plastic tissue, rapidly modifying its size and function responding to changes in demands. In the lab we are focusing our attention on the intracellular signaling pathways regulating increases in both mass and function of adult skeletal muscle. Considering the significant problems which arise during aging, disuse and numerous other pathologies leading to muscle atrophy and weakness, together with the well-established beneficial effect of exercise, it is of fundamental importance to understand which pathways regulate muscle growth and how these can be linked to exercise.

Ongoing activities: We have currently three lines of research in the lab:

  1. Dissecting the signaling pathways downstream of Akt activation responsible for the increases in muscle mass and force.
  2. Identifying epigenetic changes after high-intensity exercise in both mice and humans.
  3. Identifying the global changes in gene transcription and phosphorylation occurring during muscle growth.

We are using a wide range of physiological and molecular biological tools to address these questions in-vivo; electroporation, in-vivo and ex-vivo force measurements, various muscle-specific transgenic animals, basic molecular biology, ChIP-seq. Many national and international colaborators provide the expertise and technical support for specific parts of the projects.

  1. Blaauw B, del Piccolo P, Rodriguez L, Hernandez Gonzalez VH, Agatea L, Solagna F, Mammano F, Pozzan T, and Schiaffino S. No evidence for inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-dependent Ca2+ release in adult mouse skeletal muscle fibers. J Gen Physiol. 2012 Aug;140(2):235-41. Epub 2012 Jul 16
    PMID: 22802359
  2. Blaauw B*, Agatea L, Toniolo L, Canato M, Quarta M, Dyar KA, Danieli-Betto D, Betto R, Schiaffino S, Reggiani C. Eccentric contractions lead to myofibrillar dysfunction in muscular dystrophy. J Appl Physiol. 2010 Jan;108(1):105-11. *corresponding
    PMID: 19910334
  3. Blaauw B*, Canato M, Agatea L, Toniolo L, Mammucari C, Masiero E, Abraham R, Sandri M, Schiaffino S, Reggiani C. Inducible activation of Akt increases skeletal muscle mass and force without satellite cell activation. FASEB J. 2009 Nov;23(11):3896-905. *corresponding
    PMID: 19661286
  4. Masiero E, Agatea L, Mammucari C, Blaauw B, Loro E, Komatsu M, Metzger D, Reggiani C, Schiaffino S, Sandri M. Autophagy is required to maintain muscle mass. Cell Metab. 2009 Dec;10(6):507-15.
    PMID: 19945408
  5. Blaauw B, Mammucari C, Toniolo L, Agatea L, Abraham R, Sandri M, Reggiani C, Schiaffino S. Akt activation prevents the force drop induced by eccentric contractions in dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscle. Hum Mol Genet. 2008 Dec 1;17(23):3686-96.
    PMID: 18753145
  1. Zulian A, Rizzo E, Schiavone M, Palma E, Tagliavini F, Blaauw B, Merlini L, Maraldi NM, Sabatelli P, Braghetta P, Bonaldo P, Argenton F, Bernardi P. NIM811, a cyclophilin inhibitor without immunosuppressive activity, is beneficial in collagen VI congenital muscular dystrophy models. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 May 22
  2. Blaauw B*, Reggiani C*. The role of satellite cells in muscle hypertrophy. J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2014 Feb 7. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Dyar KA, Ciciliot S, Wright LE, Sjørup Biensø R, Malagoli Tagliazucchi G, Patel VR, Forcato M, Peña Paz MI, Gudiksen A, Solagna F, Albiero M, Moretti I, Eckel-Mahan KL, Baldi P, Sassone-Corsi P, Rizzuto R, Bicciato S, Pilegaard H, Blaauw B, and Schiaffino S. Muscle insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism are controlled by the intrinsic muscle clock. Molecular Metabolism, 2013 Oct 23;3(1):29-41.
  4. Pallafacchina G, Blaauw B, Schiaffino S. Role of satellite cells in muscle growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Dec;23 Suppl 1:S12-8.
  5. Blaauw B, Schiaffino S, Reggiani C. Mechanisms modulating muscle phenotype. Compr Physiol. 2013 Oct 1;3(4):1645-87.
  6. Sartori R, Schirwis E, Blaauw B, Bortolanza S, Zhao J, Enzo E, Stantzou A, Mouisel E, Toniolo L, Ferry A, Stricker S, Goldberg AL, Dupont S, Piccolo S, Amthor H & Sandri M. BMP signaling controls muscle mass. Nat Genet. 2013 Nov;45(11):1309-18. doi: 10.1038/ng.2772
  7. Scorzeto M, Giacomello M, Toniolo L, Canato M, Blaauw B, Paolini C, Protasi F, Reggiani C, Stienen GJM. Mitochondrial Ca2+-handling in fast skeletal muscle fibers from wild type and calsequestrin-null mice. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 3;8(10):e74919.
  8. Urciuolo A, Quarta M, Morbidoni V, Gattazzo F, Molon S, Grumati P, Montemurro F, Tedesco FS, Blaauw B, Cossu G, Vozzi G, Rando TA, Bonaldo P. Collagen VI regulates satellite cell self-renewal and muscle regeneration. Nat Commun. 2013 Jun 7;4:1964.
  9. Ciciliot S, Rossi A, Dyar KA, Blaauw B, Schiaffino S. Muscle type and fiber type specificity in muscle wasting. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2013 May 21
  10. Sandri M, Barberi L, Bijlsma AY, Blaauw B, Dyar KA, Milan G, Mammucari C, Meskers CG, Pallafacchina G, Paoli A, Pion D, Roceri M, Romanello V, Serrano AL, Toniolo L, Larsson L, Maier AB, Muñoz-Cánoves P, Musarò A, Pende M, Reggiani C, Rizzuto R, Schiaffino S. Signalling pathways regulating muscle mass in ageing skeletal muscle. The role of the IGF1-Akt-mTOR-FoxO pathway. Biogerontology. 2013 May 19, [Epub ahead of print].
  11. Nemazanyy I, Blaauw B, Paolini C, Caillaud C, Protasi F, Mueller A, Proikas-Cezanne T, Russell RC, Guan KL, Nishino I, Sandri M, Pende M, Panasyuk G. Defects of VPS15 in skeletal muscles lead to autophagic vacuolar myopathy and lysosomal disease. EMBO Mol Med. 2013 Jun;5(6):870-90.
  12. Schiaffino S, Dyar K, Ciciliot S, Blaauw B, Sandri M. Mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle growth and atrophy. FEBS J. 2013 Mar 21, [Epub ahead of print].
  13. Basco D, Blaauw B, Pisani F, Sparaneo A, Nicchia GP, Mola MG, Reggiani C, Svelto M, Frigeri A. AQP4-Dependent Water Transport Plays a Functional Role in Exercise-Induced Skeletal Muscle Adaptations. PLoS One. 2013;8(3)
  14. Randazzo D, Giacomello E, Lorenzini S, Rossi D, Pierantozzi E, Blaauw B, Reggiani C, Lange S, Peter AK, Chen J, Sorrentino V. Obscurin is required for ankyrinB-dependent dystrophin localization and sarcolemma integrity. J Cell Biol. 2013 Feb 18;200(4):523-36.
  15. Blaauw B, del Piccolo P, Rodriguez L, Hernandez Gonzalez VH, Agatea L, Solagna F, Mammano F, Pozzan T, and Schiaffino S. No evidence for inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-dependent Ca2+ release in adult mouse skeletal muscle fibers. J Gen Physiol. 2012 Aug;140(2):235-41. Epub 2012 Jul 16
  16. Piccoli M, Franzin C, Bertin E, Urbani L, Blaauw B, Repele A, Taschin E, Cenedese A, Zanon GF, André-Schmutz I, Rosato A, Melki J, Cavazzana-Calvo M, Pozzobon M and De Coppi P. Amniotic fluid stem cells restore the muscle cell niche in a HSA-Cre, SmnF7/F7 mouse model. Stem Cells, 2012 Aug;30(8):1675-84.
  17. Rossi CA, Flaibani M, Blaauw B, Pozzobon M, Figallo E, Reggiani C, Vitiello L, Elvassore N, De Coppi P. In vivo tissue engineering of functional skeletal muscle by freshly isolated satellite cells embedded in a photopolymerizable hydrogel. FASEB J. 2011 Jul;25(7):2296-304.
  18. Quarta M, Scorzeto M, Canato M, Dal Maschio M, Conte D, Blaauw B, Vassanelli S, Reggiani C. The modulation of myogenic cells differentiation using a semiconductor-muscle junction. Biomaterials. 2011 Jun;32(18):4228-37.
  19. Blaauw B*, Agatea L, Toniolo L, Canato M, Quarta M, Dyar KA, Danieli-Betto D, Betto R, Schiaffino S, Reggiani C. Eccentric contractions lead to myofibrillar dysfunction in muscular dystrophy. J Appl Physiol. 2010 Jan;108(1):105-11. *corresponding
  20. Grumati P, Coletto L, Sabatelli P, Cescon M, Angelin A, Bertaggia E, Blaauw B, Urciuolo A, Tiepolo T, Merlini L, Maraldi NM, Bernardi P, Sandri M, Bonaldo P. Autophagy is defective in collagen VI muscular dystrophies, and its reactivation rescues myofiber degeneration. Nat Med. 2010 Nov;16(11):1313-20.
  21. Menazza S, Blaauw B, Tiepolo T, Toniolo L, Braghetta P, Spolaore B, Reggiani C, Di Lisa F, Bonaldo P, Canton M. Oxidative stress by monoamine oxidases is causally involved in myofiber damage in muscular dystrophy. Hum Mol Genet. 2010 Nov 1;19(21):4207-15.
  22. Blaauw B*, Canato M, Agatea L, Toniolo L, Mammucari C, Masiero E, Abraham R, Sandri M, Schiaffino S, Reggiani C. Inducible activation of Akt increases skeletal muscle mass and force without satellite cell activation. FASEB J. 2009 Nov;23(11):3896-905. *corresponding
  23. Masiero E, Agatea L, Mammucari C, Blaauw B, Loro E, Komatsu M, Metzger D, Reggiani C, Schiaffino S, Sandri M. Autophagy is required to maintain muscle mass. Cell Metab. 2009 Dec;10(6):507-15.
  24. Sartori R, Milan G, Patron M, Mammucari C, Blaauw B, Abraham R, Sandri M. Smad2 and 3 transcription factors control muscle mass in adulthood. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2009 Jun;296(6):C1248-57.
  25. Blaauw B, Mammucari C, Toniolo L, Agatea L, Abraham R, Sandri M, Reggiani C, Schiaffino S. Akt activation prevents the force drop induced by eccentric contractions in dystrophin-deficient skeletal muscle. Hum Mol Genet. 2008 Dec 1;17(23):3686-96.
  26. Tothova J, Blaauw B*, Pallafacchina G, Rudolf R, Argentini C, Reggiani C, Schiaffino S. NFATc1 nucleocytoplasmic shuttling is controlled by nerve activity in skeletal muscle. J Cell Sci. 2006 Apr 15;119(Pt 8):1604-11. *co-first

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