Randolph Ashton

Assistant Professor

Room: 4168
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
330 N. Orchard St.
Madison, WI 53715

Ph: (608) 316-4312
Fax: (608) 316-4606
rashton2@wisc.edu

Primary Affiliation:
Biomedical Engineering

Additional Affiliations:
Materials Science Program, Biotechnology Training Program


Profile Summary

Welcome to the Ashton Lab! 

 

In the Stem Cell Bioprocessing and Regenerative Biomaterials Laboratory, we endeavor to engineer novel materials and methodologies that optimally instruct lineage-specific differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in a reproducible and scalable manner. Our goal is to understand, model, and recapitulate in vitro the instructive signals utilized by human embryos to pattern tissue-specific differentiation of embryonic stem cells, and apply this knowledge towards the rational design of tissue engineer scaffolds and other regenerative therapeutic strategies. Our research is highly interdisciplinary with topics ranging from novel biomaterials to stem cell biology, and we employs a range of techniques including microfabrication, molecular biology, recombinant protein engineering, synthetic chemistry, and automated live-cell imaging to 1) develop high-throughput screening methods for investigating the quantitative, temporal, and nano-scale qualitative characteristics of cellular microenvironmental factors that regulate stem cell fate and 2) incorporate this knowledge into rational design of scaffolds for generating high-order tissue structures in vitro using hPSCs or their differentiated progeny. We currently specialize in developing regenerative therapies for the central nervous systems; however, we are always seeking collaborations and looking to expand into other systems, especially vascular and muscular tissues.

Education

  • Postdoctoral Fellow 2007-2011, University of California Berkeley, (Berkeley, CA)
  • PhD 2007, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)
  • BS 2002, Hampton University (Hampton, VA)

Research Interests

  • Neural tissue engineering
  • Vascular tissue engineering
  • Regenerative therapies for the central nervous system
  • Stem cell bioprocessing
  • Nanoscale biomaterials engineering
  • Engineerig the stem cell-biomaterial interface

Awards, Honors and Societies

  • Member: Biomedical Engineering Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Society for Biological Engineers, International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), 2009
  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008
  • NIH-NIGMS Biomolecular Science and Engineering Training Fellow, 2004
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Dean Fellowship Recipient, 2002
  • National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering Fellow, 2002
  • Hampton University Presidential Scholar, 1999

Publications

1. Defined human pluripotent stem cell culture enables highly efficient neuroepithelium derivation without small molecule inhibitors.
Lippmann ES, Estevez-Silva MC, Ashton RS.
Stem Cells. 2013 Dec 19. doi: 10.1002/stem.1622. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 24357014 


2. The effect of multivalent Sonic hedgehog on differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons.
Vazin T, Ashton RS, Conway A, Rode NA, Lee SM, Bravo V, Healy KE, Kane RS, Schaffer DV.
Biomaterials. 2014 Jan;35(3):941-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.10.025. Epub 2013 Oct 27.
PMID: 24172856 


3. Sequential nucleophilic substitutions permit orthogonal click functionalization of multicomponent PEG brushes.
Sha J, Lippmann ES, McNulty J, Ma Y, Ashton RS.
Biomacromolecules. 2013 Sep 9;14(9):3294-303. doi: 10.1021/bm400900r. Epub 2013 Aug 28.
PMID: 23937610 


4. Astrocytes regulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis through ephrin-B signaling.
Ashton RS, Conway A, Pangarkar C, Bergen J, Lim KI, Shah P, Bissell M, Schaffer DV.
Nat Neurosci. 2012 Oct;15(10):1399-406. doi: 10.1038/nn.3212. Epub 2012 Sep 16.
PMID: 22983209 


5. Molecular characterization of multivalent bioconjugates by size-exclusion chromatography with multiangle laser light scattering.
Pollock JF, Ashton RS, Rode NA, Schaffer DV, Healy KE.
Bioconjug Chem. 2012 Sep 19;23(9):1794-801. Epub 2012 Aug 23.
PMID: 22794081 


6. Progress and prospects for stem cell engineering.
Ashton RS, Keung AJ, Peltier J, Schaffer DV.
Annu Rev Chem Biomol Eng. 2011;2:479-502. doi: 10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-061010-114105. Review.
PMID: 22432628 


7. The influence of hydrogel modulus on the proliferation and differentiation of encapsulated neural stem cells.
Banerjee A, Arha M, Choudhary S, Ashton RS, Bhatia SR, Schaffer DV, Kane RS.
Biomaterials. 2009 Sep;30(27):4695-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.05.050. Epub 2009 Jun 17.
PMID: 19539367 


8. Multivalency of Sonic hedgehog conjugated to linear polymer chains modulates protein potency.
Wall ST, Saha K, Ashton RS, Kam KR, Schaffer DV, Healy KE.
Bioconjug Chem. 2008 Apr;19(4):806-12. doi: 10.1021/bc700265k. Epub 2008 Apr 2.
PMID: 18380472 


9. Scaffolds based on degradable alginate hydrogels and poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres for stem cell culture.
Ashton RS, Banerjee A, Punyani S, Schaffer DV, Kane RS.
Biomaterials. 2007 Dec;28(36):5518-25. Epub 2007 Sep 19.
PMID: 17881048 


10. High-throughput screening of gene function in stem cells using clonal microarrays.
Ashton RS, Peltier J, Fasano CA, O\'Neill A, Leonard J, Temple S, Schaffer DV, Kane RS.
Stem Cells. 2007 Nov;25(11):2928-35. Epub 2007 Aug 2.
PMID: 17673524 


11. Raftlike polyvalent inhibitors of the anthrax toxin: modulating inhibitory potency by formation of lipid microdomains.
Rai PR, Saraph A, Ashton R, Poon V, Mogridge J, Kane RS.
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2007;46(13):2207-9. 
PMID: 17310484 


12. Thiol-mediated anchoring of ligands to self-assembled monolayers for studies of biospecific interactions.
Gujraty KV, Ashton R, Bethi SR, Kate S, Faulkner CJ, Jennings GK, Kane RS.
Langmuir. 2006 Nov 21;22(24):10157-62.
PMID: 17107015 


13. Microfluidic separation of DNA.
Ashton R, Padala C, Kane RS.
Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2003 Oct;14(5):497-504. Review.
PMID: 14580579 

 

Courses

Fall 2014-2015

  • BME 890 - Pre-dissertation Research
  • BME 790 - Master\'s Research and Thesis
  • BME 699 - Advanced Independent Study
  • BME 399 - Independent Study
  • Profile Summary

    Welcome to the Ashton Lab! 

     

    In the Stem Cell Bioprocessing and Regenerative Biomaterials Laboratory, we endeavor to engineer novel materials and methodologies that optimally instruct lineage-specific differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in a reproducible and scalable manner. Our goal is to understand, model, and recapitulate in vitro the instructive signals utilized by human embryos to pattern tissue-specific differentiation of embryonic stem cells, and apply this knowledge towards the rational design of tissue engineer scaffolds and other regenerative therapeutic strategies. Our research is highly interdisciplinary with topics ranging from novel biomaterials to stem cell biology, and we employs a range of techniques including microfabrication, molecular biology, recombinant protein engineering, synthetic chemistry, and automated live-cell imaging to 1) develop high-throughput screening methods for investigating the quantitative, temporal, and nano-scale qualitative characteristics of cellular microenvironmental factors that regulate stem cell fate and 2) incorporate this knowledge into rational design of scaffolds for generating high-order tissue structures in vitro using hPSCs or their differentiated progeny. We currently specialize in developing regenerative therapies for the central nervous systems; however, we are always seeking collaborations and looking to expand into other systems, especially vascular and muscular tissues.


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