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Heather Fahlenkamp, Ph.D.

Dr. Heather Fahlenkamp


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


M.S., Bioengineering
University of Utah, 2000


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

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

A 3D Vascular Tissue Model for Studying the Link Between Diabetes and Atherosclerosis

We are using a 3D human in vitro tissue model that recapitulates the interface between a blood vessel and the surrounding tissue to mimic an allergic inflammatory response. As an allergy sensor, the tissue model can be comprised of patient-specific cells and be used to predict a patient’s response to allergies, possibly better than existing clinical tests, such as the allergy skin test.


An Advanced Tissue-Equivalent Respiratory Model to Study Airway Reactivity to Infectious Agents

We are using a tissue-equivalent respiratory model that exhibits a normal immunological response against infectious agents, such as the influenza virus, to determine the mechanisms that 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.

Recent Publications

  • Sharma, M., Ashok, P., Subramanian, R., and Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H. “A system of drug-loaded nanoparticles embedded in a thin biomembrane offers a dual-release mechanism for ophthalmic drug delivery.” Manuscript accepted in Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2012.
  • Leemasawatdigul, K. and Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H. “Development of a mathematical model to describe the transport of MCP-1 through a three-dimensional collagen matrix.” Cardiovascular Pathology, 21(3) 219-228, 2012.
  • Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H., R. Hale, and A. Shukla.“Optimization of a 3D Vascular Tissue Model for the In Vitro Generation of Human Dendritic Cells.”Cellular Immunology, submitted, 2010.
  • Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H., and S. Sofolahan.“Characterization of a Novel 3D Angiogenesis Tissue Model.”Microvascular Research, submitted , 2010.
  • Leemasawatdigul, K., and H. Gappa-Fahlenkamp.“Effect of Storage Conditions on the Stability of Recombinant Human MCP-1/CCL2.Biologicals, submitted, 2010.
  • Leemasawatdigul, K., and H. Gappa-Fahlenkamp. “Development of a Mathematical Model to Describe the Transport of MCP-1 Through a Three-dimensional Collagen Matrix.” Annals of Biomedical Engineering, submitted, 2010.
  • Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H., M. Sharma, P. Ashok, and R. Subramanian.“Characterization of a Novel Ophthalmic Drug Delivery System.”Journal of Controlled Release, submitted, 2010.
  • Gappa-Fahlenkamp, H., and A. Shukla. “The Effect of Short-term, High Glucose Concentration on Eendothelial Cells and Leukocytes in a 3D In Vitro Human Vascular Tissue Model.” In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, 45 (5-6) 234-242, 2009.
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