A native of San Antonio, I grew up on the west side of the city where I attended O.W. Holmes HS in Northside Independent School District. After High School, I moved to upstate New York where I attended the University of Rochester. In 2012, I graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering. While completing my undergraduate studies, I co-founded MonoMano, Inc. (www.monomanocycling.com) in order to commercialize adaptive cycling products designed for stroke survivors and amputees. After graduation, I moved back to San Antonio, where I completed a PhD in biomedical engineering in the laboratory of Dr. Xiao-Dong Chen at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. My research there focused on developing strategies to improve the efficacy of stem cell therapies for elderly populations. I defended my dissertation in the summer of 2016, and received an NIH funded postdoctoral fellowship to remain at the health science center to continue developing the work done in my graduate dissertation and develop applications in oral medicine.
During my time as a graduate student I observed that scientists tend to do a poor job communicating their work to the general public. Doing a better job of communicating science to my community quickly became a passion of mine. In November 2015, I co-founded San Antonio Science, Inc. (www.SAScience.org), in order to advocate for and promote science in the Alamo City. I hope that by describing science in an intuitive manner using accessible language, I can help San Antonio understand that science is a strength that our community should be building on for its future.
Currently, I serve as Principal Scientist for StemBioSys, Inc. (www.stembiosys.com) in San Antonio, TX. In that role, I lead R&D operations in order to develop tools that will catalyze progress in the field of regenerative medicine by making cell culture more biologically relevant. I am also a co-founder and partner of Marinkovic & Block LLC and Et al BioCapital LLC, and adjunct faculty at UT Health San Antonio and Trinity Univerisity.
I am the youngest of three siblings. My sister, Meagan Garcia, graduated from Notre Dame law school after completing her BS in psychology at the University of the Incarnate Word. She lives in San Antonio with her husband and three children. She is a partner at the Garcia and Block Law office (http://garciablock.com) with her husband Alex Garcia. My brother, Jeremy Block, is a co-founder of Surge Aquatics and lives in San Antonio with his wife, Christalene Block. My mother, Margie Block, is a retired nurse and homemaker. My father, George Block, is a retired school district administrator and swim coach. He currently serves on the board of several local non-profit organizations.