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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Lorna Ashton supervises 3 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Lorna Ashton

Lecturer

Lancaster University

Department of Chemistry

LA1 4YB

Lancaster

Tel: +44 1524 593552

Research overview

My area of interest is the advancement of Raman spectroscopy as an analytical tool for monitoring physiochemical properties of molecules. My research involves combining Raman spectroscopy and chemometric methods for the identification of structural changes due to post-translational modifications, protein-protein interactions, ligand binding and changes in protein stability as well as working towards on-line monitoring of biopharmaceutical products, substrates and by-products. Furthermore, I am developing Raman micro-spectroscopy techniques to image live cells during abiotic perturbations.

PhD supervision

I have a range of available projects in Raman spectroscopy for biomolecular characterisation, although funding is currently not available. I welcome applications from self-funded students or from students seeking external funding.Training will be provided in Raman Spectroscopy, computational methods for analysis and chemical biology.

Research Interests

Two-dimensional Correlation Analysis (2DCOS)

2DCOS is a cross-correlation technique which can be applied to Raman data sets monitoring perturbation-induced changes to improve visualisation and data analysis. By carefully applying specific perturbations (e.g. changes in pH, temperature, ligand concentration and time) to biomolecules detailed conformational transitions can be determined from 2DCOS. My research focuses on further developing 2DCOS techniques specifically in their application to conformational transitions in proteins.

 

Post-translational modifications

Many proteins undergo some modifications after translation which can directly affect protein function. By combining Raman spectroscopy with principal component analysis (PCA) and 2DCOS we can identify structural modifications that occur in proteins as a result of glycosylation, ligand binding and changes in protein stability.

 

Biopharmaceuticals

Protein-based biopharmaceuticals are becoming increasingly popular therapeutic agents. However, the production and characterisation of such therapeutics continues to pose numerous analytical challenges. Raman spectroscopy offers an alternative robust, rapid and versatile bioprocessing analytical tool. I am involved in the development of Raman techniques, including UV resonance Raman (UVRR) spectroscopy, for high-throughput monitoring of active pharmaceutical ingredients produced from biocatalyst reactions as well as secreted recombinant antibody production from mammalian cells.

 

Live Cell Imaging

Cell imaging is an important analytical tool for many areas of biomedical research, including cell biology, neurobiology, pharmacology and developmental biology. With the continuing development of Raman microscopy this analytical technique now offers an alternative, label-free imaging approach capable of providing vast amounts of spatially resolved biochemical information.

I have recently been involved in applying Raman imaging to live cells within a specifically designed incubator controlling temperature, humidity and CO2 levels. As well as being able to monitor cell growth we have followed the uptake of the anti-psoriasis drug dithranol by live HaCat cells demonstrating the future potential of Raman microscopy for the identification of mode-of-action of specific drugs.

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