The Ankrum Lab focuses on developing bioengineering strategies to understand and control cell-to-cell interactions to better model and treat disease

The Ankrum Lab is a bioengineering lab embedded in the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center and Pappajohn Biomedical Institute. Our research is focused on the development of cell-based therapies and in vitro models of disease. Our work is largely centered on understanding and leveraging the potential of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). MSCs have diverse interactions with immune cells, making them a potential candidate for treating inflammatory conditions and improving wound healing. Our lab looks at MSCs from different tissue sources, manufacturing strategies, storage conditions, and delivery routes to understand how sourcing and manufacturing decisions impact the therapeutic mechanisms MSCs can employ to resolve pathologic inflammation. In addition, we have created scaffold-free methods using MSCs to create improved in vitro models of tissue, including pancreatic islets and adipose tissue. Using our scaffold-free approach, we have generated improved models of adipose for regenerative medicine and toxicology applications. In all of our work, we are intensely interested in understanding how cell-to-cell communication between different cell types leads to changes in physiologic processes.