Randolph S. Ashton

Randolph Ashton
Assistant Professor


Biomedical Engineering

Organ System/Disease Focus: 

Regenerative therapies for the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Aligned Research Focus: 

Human pluripotent stem cell-based regenerative therapies; Tissue engineering; Biomaterials

Research Description: 

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

Selected References: 

  • Lippmann ES, Williams CE, Ruhl DA, Estevez-Silva MC, Chapman ER, Coon JJ, Ashton RS. Deterministic HOX patterning in human pluripotent stem cell-derived neuroectoderm. Stem Cell Reports. 2015 Apr 14;4(4):632-44. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.02.018. Epub 2015 Apr 2.  PMID: 25843047
  • 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)
  • 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)


Stem Cell Bioengineering
Neural Regeneration