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Heather Fahlenkamp, Ph.D.

Dr. Heather Fahlenkamp


Professor and Head of the School of Chemical Engineering

Edward Bartlett Chair in Chemical Engineering


Ph.D., Chemical Engineering
Oklahoma State University, 2003


M.S., Bioengineering
University of Utah, 2000


B.S., Chemical Engineering
Oklahoma State University, 1997

Professional Experience

2003 – 2006 Research Scientist at VaxDesign Corporation (now part of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group)

Professional Honors and Affiliations


OKBio Researcher Recognition Award

Major Areas of Interest

Tissue Engineering: Advanced Tissue-Equivalent Models to Study Inflammation Associated with Vascular Complications, Allergens, and Infectious Agents.

Drug Delivery: Nanoparticles and Biomembranes for Controlled Delivery

Recent Research Activities

An Advanced 3D Human Tissue-Engineered Lung Model to Study Immune Responses to Infectious Agents

We have created a 3D tissue-engineered lung model comprised of primary human cells that exhibits a normal immunological response against infectious agents, such as the influenza virus.  The model has been used to determine the mechanisms that can lead to an excessive inflammatory response and ensuing complications.


A Novel Ophthalmic Drug Delivery System for the Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

To improve sustained delivery of drugs to the eye, we have designed a novel system that includes drug-loaded nanoparticles suspended within a thin membrane that can be attached to a standard commercial-grade contact lens for support. The lens system will provide constant contact with the eye’s surface and the particles will supply a continuous release of medication, resulting in more drug reaching the target.

Select Publications

Roe, M. M., Do, T., Turner, S., Jevitt, A. M., Chlebicz, M., White, K., Oomens, A. G., Rankin, S., & Kovats, S. and Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H. (2023). Blood myeloid cells differentiate to lung resident cells and respond to pathogen stimuli in a 3D human tissue-engineered lung model. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 11, 1212230.


Derakhshan, T., Bhowmick, R., Meinkoth, J.H., Ritchey, J.W. and Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H. (2019). Human Mast Cell Development from Hematopoietic Stem Cells in a Connective Tissue-Equivalent Model. Tissue Engineering. Part A ISSN: 1937-335X, Vol. 25 (21-22), pp. 1564-1574, PMID: 30896346.


Bhowmick R; Derakhshan M; Liang Y; Ritchey J; Liu L; Gappa-Fahlenkamp H. (2018). A 3D human tissue-engineered lung model to study influenza A infection. Tissue Engineering. Part A, ISSN: 1937-335X, 24(19-20), PMID: 29732955.


Derakhshan, M., Bhowmick, R., Ritchey, J.W. and Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H. (2018) Development of human mast cells from hematopoietic stem cells within a 3D collagen matrix: effect of stem cell media on mast cell generation. Stem Cells International, ISSN: 1687-966X, 2136193, PMID: 30123284.


Subramanian, R., Bhowmick, R., and Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H. (2017). Design of a novel method for the spatial distribution of cells within a porous scaffold for tissue engineering applications. Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering, ISSN: 2157-7552, 8(2), 1-8.


Bhowmick, R. and Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H. (2016). Cells and Culture Systems Used to Model the Small Airway Epithelium, Lung, ISSN: 1432-1750, 194(3), 419-28, PMID: 27071933.


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