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
- McNulty JD, Klann T, Sha J, Salick M, Knight GT, Turng L, Ashton RS (2014). High-precision robotic microcontact printing (R-μCP) utilizing a vision guide selectively compliant articulated robotic arm. Lab Chip, 14(11): 1923-30. (PMID: 24759945; IF: 6.136)
- Lippmann ES, Estevez-Silva MC, Ashton RS (2014). Defined human pluripotent stem cell culture enables highly efficient neuroepithelium derivation independent of small molecule inhibitors. Stem Cells, 32(4): 1032-42. (IF: 8.368)
- Vazin T*, Ashton RS*, Conway A, Rode N, Lee SM, Bravo V, Healy KE, Kane R, Schaffer DV (2014). Multivalent sonic hedgehog enhances differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons. Biomaterials, 35(3): 941-8. (PMCID: 24172856; IF: 8.496)
- Sha J, Lippmann ES, McNulty J, Ma Y, Ashton RS (2013). Sequential nucleophilic substitutions permit orthogonal click functionalization of multicomponent PEG brushes. Biomacromolecules, 14(9): 3294-303. (PMCID: 23937610; IF: 5.750)
- Ashton RS*, Conway A*, Pangakar 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): 1399-406. (PMCID: 22983209; IF: 16.412)