Samuel (Sam) Blackford, Ph.D.

ASSOCIATE CONSULTANT

10+ years of pluripotent stem cell biology know-how with experience in tissue engineering, cell & gene therapies, tech transfer and validation.

About Sam

Samuel is a pluripotent stem cell biologist and tissue engineer with experience in retinal and hepatic cell therapies. Joining Dark Horse Consulting in 2021, he brings over 10 years of experience in working with pluripotent stem cells.

Samuel first began working with pluripotent stem cells as an undergraduate student where he successfully derived embryonic stem cell lines from genetic mouse models. This research experience motivated him to undertake a dedicated master’s degree in stem cell technologies and to then gain further research experience within Professor Robin Ali’s cell and gene therapy lab at University College London.

While at UCL, he gained experience in 3D differentiation within bioreactors, virus production and cell transplantation. Samuel then moved to King’s College London to undertake an mRes degree where he gained experience in fabricating natural/synthetic biomaterials, isolation & culture of primary human hepatocytes, and hiPSC-derived organoid culture.

During his doctoral studies at King’s he established SOPs for the culture and differentiation of cGMP-compliant human pluripotent stem cells into hepatocytes. Moreover, he published a proof-of-concept study demonstrating the transplantation feasibility of encapsulated 3D cell constructs for treating liver failure. Additionally, Samuel’s doctorial work also focused on utilizing the physical properties of tunable synthetic biomaterials to improve the differentiation of cGMP-compliant cells. Samuel also gained experience in automated high through-put screening/imaging to identify novel compounds to enhance cellular differentiation. After finishing these studies, he has been involved in academia to industry tech transfer of cell culture protocols and cell product characterization assays. Most recently Samuel’s work has focused on producing disease models for inherited metabolic diseases and viral infections.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

  • Blackford SJI, Ng SS, Segal J et al. Validation of Current Good Manufacturing Practice Compliant Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Hepatocytes for Cell-Based Therapy. STEM CELLS Translational Medicine. 8, 2 (2019).
  • Ashmore-Harris C, Blackford SJI, Kurtys E et al. Reporter gene-engineered human iPSC-derived hepatocytes during differentiation renders in vivo traceable hepatocyte-like cells accessible. Stem Cell Research. 101599 (2019).
  • Ng SS, Saeb-Parsy K, Blackford SJI et al. Human iPS derived progenitors bioengineered into liver organoids using an inverted colloidal crystal poly (ethylene glycol) scaffold. Biomaterials. 182, 299-311 (2018).
  • Gonzalez-Cordero A, West EL, Pearson RA et al. Photoreceptor precursors derived from three-dimensional embryonic stem cell cultures integrate and mature within adult degenerate retina. Nature Biotechnology. 31, 741–747 (2013).

PAST EXPERIENCE

Imperial College London
Research Associate

Sana Biotechnology
Independent Contractor (Consultant Scientist)

University College London
Research Assistant

EDUCATION

King’s College London
Ph.D. in Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

King’s College London
MRes in Biomedical and Translational Science

University of Nottingham
MSc in Stem Cell Technology

University of Sussex
BSc (with honors) in Medical Neuroscience

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