Anne Mari Rokstad, Ph.D.
University of Trondheim
My research within the CDP is on alginate capsules and their relation to the human immune system. More specifically, how the immune system responds to different capsule types. In this way, we can determine capsules that are well tolerated by the human body as well as determine which factors that might lead to non-functional capsules. Our final capsule choice should be well accepted by the immune system upon transplantation. I believe these studies also lead us to the most functional capsule for the transplanted islets.
The purpose of the alginate capsules is to protect the transplanted islets against the host immune system. In this way it might be possible to reduce or avoid the use of immune suppressants. What motivates my in my work is to help build a future where there is a possibility for improved life quality for the patients treated with functional capsules.
I started working within the CDP in 2008, establishing a human whole blood model for capsule studies. I have also performed studies with non-human primate (NHP) whole blood in Dr. Oberholzer’s lab in Chicago. These studies have impacted the choice of NHP models. The hard working spirit within the CDP, the constructive scientific discussions, and all the friendly people is really stimulating and makes me believe that a functional cure for diabetes by use of capsules is achievable.
I am a scientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. I am also a member of the Trondheim Bioencapsulation Group, which altogether have competence on alginate and encapsulation technology, cell biology, immunology and endocrinology. In addition to immunological studies, my previous focus has been on cell functioning in relation to alginate encapsulation. I attained a PhD on these topics in 2006, and thus have several years of experience within the encapsulation field. Currently, I have a research position including teaching duties financed by “Helse Midt Norge-NTNU” in Norway.