Our goal is to understand, model, and recapitulate in vitro the instructive signals utilized by human embryos to pattern tissue-specific differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, and apply this knowledge towards the rational design of tissue engineered scaffolds and other regenerative therapeutic strategies. Currently, we primarily focus on generating tissues and therapies for the central nervous system.

Recent Publications

Defined Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Culture Enables Highly Efficient Neuroepithelium Derivation Without Small Molecule Inhibitors
Ethan Scott Lippmann, Maria Carolina Estevez‐Silva, Randolph Scott Ashton (2014)
Stem Cells 32 (4), 1032-1042

Micropattern width dependent sarcomere development in human ESC-derived cardiomyocytes
Max R Salick, Brett N Napiwocki, Jin Sha, Gavin T Knight, Shahzad A Chindhy, Timothy J Kamp, Randolph S Ashton, Wendy C Crone (2014)
Biomaterials 35 (15), 4454-4464

High-precision robotic microcontact printing (R-μCP) utilizing a vision guided selectively compliant articulated robotic arm
McNulty, J. D., Klann, T., Sha, J., Salick, M., Knight, G. T., Turng, L.-S., & Ashton, R. S. (2014)
Lab Chip 14 (11), 1923-30

More Publications


  • Science Photo
  • Science Photo
  • Science Photo
  • Photo of Cardiomyocyte Bucky
  • Photo of Neural Rosette
  • Photo of Micropatterned Molecules
  • Photo showing E6 Method
  • Photo demonstrating a Reaction
  • Link to YouTube Video


September 2014
Congratulations to Gavin Knight for winning a $1000 travel grant for his winning poster, "Spatiotemporal control of neural stem cell adhesion and migration on RGD-modified PEG brushes", at the 2014 UW Madison SCRMC Fall Conference. 

Congratulations to Jason McNulty for successfully completing his PhD Qualifier examinations.

The Ashton lab would like to welcome Akshitha Sreeram, Brady Lundin, and Joshua Plantz to the group as new undergraduate research assistants. 

August 2014
Congratulation to Professor Gordon Mitchell (co-PI) and Assistant Professor Randolph Ashton (co-PI) for receiving an ICTR Basic and Clinical Research Award on “Phrenic Motor Neuron Derivation and Transplantation” for $50,000. See announcement in the latest ICTR Newsletter.

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Randolph Ashton (PI) and Professor David Beebe (Co-I) for receiving a NIH R21 award from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for $348,422.