Assistant Professor of the Institute for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Telephone: 3943 9797
Room 425C, Lo Kwee-Seong Integrated Biomedical Sci. Bldg, Area 39, CUHK
Prof. BLOCKI Anna joined the group of Prof. Michael Raghunath within the Department of Bioengineering (now Department of Biomedical Engineering) to pursue her PhD studies on “Peripheral blood: a simple cell source for the generation of angiogenic progenitors from monocytes”. Prof. Blocki was able to secure a PhD scholarship from the Graduate Program in Bioengineering (GPBE) and was later admitted to the top-tier PhD programme, the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering (NGS). Her work on Blood Derived Angiogenic Cells (BDACs) allowed her to formulate the hypothesis of more than one origin of pericytes, which she followed up during her later research. Her focus on regenerative cell types and extracellular matrix (ECM) engineering inspired her also to investigate the therapeutic potential of the developed technologies in preclinical studies. This was realized during her first postdoctoral appointment at the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC) at the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR) from December 2012 to April 2015. Following that, Prof. Blocki was able to secure a competitive postdoctoral fellowship from the Charité Universitätsklinikum Berlin that allowed her to work towards ECM-mimicking biomaterials and their potential clinical application. Since February 2018 she has joined the Institute for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine and the School of Biomedical Sciences as an Assistant Professor.
- Tailoring bio-instructive biomaterials to guide regeneration processes.
- Deciphering of the extracellular matrix.
- Blood-derived angiogenic cells (BDACs), their pericytic identity and their potential for clinical application.
- Perfusable microvascular networks in microfluidic devices.
- Engineering of stem cell niches.
- Assunção, M., Yiu, C.H.K., Wan, H.-Y., Wang, D., Ker, D.F.E., Tuan, R.S, Blocki, A. (2021). Hyaluronic acid drives mesenchymal stromal cell-derived extracellular matrix assembly by promoting fibronectin fibrillogenesis. J. Mater. Chem. B. , 9 7205–7215, doi:10.1039/d1tb00268f.
- Wan, H.-Y. #, SHIN, R.L.Y. #, Chen, J.C.H., Assunção, M., Wang, D., Nilsson, S.K., Tuan, R.S., Blocki, A. (2021). Dextran Sulfate-amplified Extracellular Matrix Deposition Promotes Osteogenic Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Acta Biomater, , doi:10.1016/J.ACTBIO.2021.11.049.
- Chiang, C.E., Fang, Y.Q., Ho, C.T., Assunção, M., Lin, S.J., Wang, Y.C., Blocki, A.*, Huang, C.C. * (2021). Bioactive Decellularized Extracellular Matrix Derived from 3D Stem Cell Spheroids under Macromolecular Crowding Serves as a Scaffold for Tissue Engineering. Adv. Healthc. Mater., 10(11), 2100024, doi:10.1002/adhm.202100024.
- Assunção, M., Dehghan-Baniani, D., Yiu, C.H.K., Später, T., Beyer, S., Blocki, A. (2020). Cell-Derived Extracellular Matrix for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol., 8, 602009, doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.602009.
- Assunção, M., Wong, C.W., Richardson, J.J., Tsang, R., Beyer, S., Raghunath, M., Blocki, A. (2020). Macromolecular dextran sulfate facilitates extracellular matrix deposition by electrostatic interaction independent from a macromolecular crowding effect. Mater Sci Eng C , 106:11028, doi:10.1016/j.msec.2019.110280.
- Beyer, S., Koch, M., Lee, Y.H., Jung, F., & Blocki, A. (2018). An In Vitro Model of Angiogenesis during Wound Healing Provides Insights into the Complex Role of Cells and Factors in the Inflammatory and Proliferation Phase. Int. J. Mol. Sci., 19, 2913, doi:10.3390/ijms19102913.
- Blocki, A.*, Beyer. S., Jung, F., & Raghunath, M.* (2018). The controversial origin of pericytes during angiogenesis – Implications for cell-based therapeutic angiogenesis and cell-based therapies. Clin. Hemorheol. Microcirc., 69(1-2), 215-232, doi:10.3233/CH-189132.
- Blocki, A., Löwenberg, C., Jiang, Y., Kratz, K., Neffe, A.T., Jung, F., & Lendlein, A. (2016). Response of encapsulated cells to a gelatin matrix with varied bulk and microenvironmental elastic properties. Polymers for Advanced Technologies, 28(10), 1245-1251, doi:10.1002/pat.3947.
- Peh, P., Lim, N.S.J., Blocki, A., Chee, S.M.L., Park, H.C., Liao, S., Chan, C. et al. (2015). Simultaneous delivery of highly diverse bioactive compounds from blend electrospun fibers for skin wound healing. Bioconjugate Chemistry, 26(7), 1348-1358, doi:10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.5b00123.
- Blocki, A., Beyer, S., Dewavrin, J.Y., Goralczyk, A., Wang, A., Peh, P., Ng, M. et al. (2015). Microcapsules engineered to support mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) survival and proliferation enable long-term retention of MSCs in infarcted myocardium. Biomaterials, 53, 12-24, doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.02.075.
- Dewavrin, J.Y., Abdurrahiem, M., Blocki, A., Musib, M., Piazza, F., & Raghunath, M. (2015). Synergistic Rate Boosting of Collagen Fibrillogenesis in Heterogeneous Mixtures of Crowding Agents. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 119(12), 4350-4358, doi:10.1021/jp5077559.
- Blocki, A., Wang, Y., Koch, M., Goralczyk, A., Beyer, S., Agarwal, N., Lee, M. et al. (2015). Sourcing of an Alternative Pericyte-Like Cell Type from Peripheral Blood in Clinically Relevant Numbers for Therapeutic Angiogenic Applications. Molecular Therapy, 23(3), 510-522, doi:10.1038/mt.2014.232.
- Rashid, R., Beyer, S., Blocki, A., Le Visage, C., Trau, D., Wohland, T. et al. (2014). Mitochondrial Routing of Glucose and Sucrose Polymers after Pinocytotic Uptake: Avenues for Drug Delivery. Biomacromolecules, 15(6), 2119-2127, doi:10.1021/bm500243m.
- Ang, X.M., Lee, M.H.C., Blocki, A., Chen, C., Ong. L.L.S., Asada, H.H., Sheppard, A. et al. (2013). Macromolecular crowding amplifies adipogenesis of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells by enhancing the pro-adipogenic microenvironment. Tissue Engineering Part A, 20(5-6), 966-981, doi:10.1089/ten.TEA.2013.0337.
- Blocki, A., Wang, Y., Koch, M., Peh, P., Beyer, S., Law, P., Hui, J., & Raghunath, M. (2013). Not all MSCs can act as pericytes: functional in vitro assays to distinguish pericytes from other mesenchymal stem cells in angiogenesis. Stem Cells and Development, 22(17), 2347-2355, doi:10.1089/scd.2012.0415.
- Chen, C., Loe, F., Blocki, A., Peng, Y., & Raghunath, M. (2011). Applying macromolecular crowding to enhance extracellular matrix deposition and its remodeling in vitro for tissue engineering and cell-based therapies. Advanced drug delivery reviews, 63(4), 277-290, doi:10.1016/j.addr.2011.03.003.
* Co-corresponding Author
# First authorship
- ITSP Seed Project [PI; 01-Aug-21 to 31-Dec-22]: “Development of a Nature-Inspired Material for the Treatment of Non-Healing Wounds” (HK$1,316,870).
- HMRF Grant “Exploring human blood-derived angiogenic cells (BDACs) with pericyte characteristics for the treatment of diabetic chronic wounds.” (HK$ 990,920).
- Direct grant (CUHK Research Committee) [PI; 30-Jun-20 to 29-Jun-21]: “Development of a cell-derived extracellular matrix-based biomaterial for the treatment of impaired bone healing” (HK$51,000).
- ITSP Seed Project [PI; 01-Mar-20 to 31-Aug-21]: “Xeno-Free Sourcing And Delivery Using Microbeads Of Reparative Cells From The Patient's Own Blood For The Treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia” (HK$1,382,187).
- ITF - Postdoctoral Hub for ITF projects [PI; 01-Mar-20 to 31-Aug-21]: “Xeno-Free Sourcing And Delivery Using Microbeads Of Reparative Cells From The Patient's Own Blood For The Treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia” (HK$601,967).
- ITF - Research Talent Hub for ITF projects [PI; 05-Oct-20 to 31-Aug-21]: “Xeno-Free Sourcing And Delivery Using Microbeads Of Reparative Cells From The Patient's Own Blood For The Treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia” (HK$364,264).
- RGC Germany/Hong Kong Joint Research Scheme 2019/20 [PI; 01-Jan-20 to 31-Dec-21]: “Characterization of extracellular matrix (ECM)-based biomaterials with tailored bioactivities by Raman microscopy” (HK$57,400).
- Shun Hing Institute of Advanced Engineering (SHIAE) grant [PI; 01-Sep-20 to 31-Aug-22]: “Development of a cell-derived extracellular matrix-based biomaterial for the treatment of osteoarthritis” (HK$694,000).
- Postdoctoral fellowship, Charité - Universitätsmedizin zu Berlin, Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies (BSRT) including 20,000 Euro research grant.