Organ System/Disease Focus:
Aligned Research Focus:
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 lab employs a range of techniques including microfabrication, molecular biology, recombinant protein engineering, synthetic chemistry, and automated live-cell imaging to develop high-throughput screening methods for investigating the quantitative, temporal, and nano-scale qualitative characteristics of cellular microenvironmental factors that regulate stem cell fate in vivo. 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. We currently specialize in developing regenerative therapies for the central and peripheral nervous systems. However, we actively seek collaborations and look to expand into other systems, including vascular and muscular tissues.
Featured Researcher in Fall 2011 SCRMC Newsletter
- Ashton RS,*, Conway A*, Pangarkar C, Bergen J, Lim K, Shah P, Bissell M, Schaffer DV (2012). Astrocytes regulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis through ephrin-B signaling. Nat Neurosci, 15(10): 1399-1406. PMID: 22983209.
- Pollock JF, Ashton RS,, Rode N, Schaffer DV, Healy KE (2012). Molecular characterization of multivalent bioconjugates by size-exclusion chromatography with multi-angle laser light scattering. Bioconjug Chem, 23(9): 1794-1801. PMID: 22794081.
- Ashton RS,, Keung AJ, Peltier J, Schaffer DV (2011). Progress and Prospects in Stem Cell Engineering. Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2: 479-502. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-061010-114105.
- Ashton RS, Banerjee A, Punyani S, Schaffer DV, Kane RS (2007). Scaffolds based on degradable alginate hydrogels and poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres for stem cell culture. Biomaterials, 28: 5518-5525. PMCID17881048.
- Ashton RS, Peltier J, Fasano CA, O'Neill A, Leonard J, Temple S, Schaffer DV, Kane RS (2007). High-throughput screening of gene function in stem cells using clonal microarrays. Stem Cells, 25: 2928-2935. PMCID17673524.