Dr Lorna AshtonLecturer
My research group focuses on the advancement of Raman spectroscopy as a bioprocessing analytical technique and for single cell Raman mapping. I have extensive experience of combining Raman techniques including UV resonance Raman and Raman optical activity with chemometric methods for the identification of structural changes due to post-translational modifications, protein-protein interactions, ligand binding and changes in protein stability. I am presently extending this research into the area of Gene and Cell Therapies. Furthermore, we are developing Raman micro-spectroscopy techniques to image live cells grown on 3D micro-engineered scaffolds.
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.
We Raman map 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 drugs by single cells over several days demonstrating the future potential of Raman microscopy for the identification of mode-of-action of specific drugs. By nano-fabricating 3D scaffolds and adhering cells to these scaffolds we have also been able to investigate cell mobility in 3D environments.
Protein-based biopharmaceuticals are becoming increasingly popular therapeutic agents. However, the production, quantification 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 biopharmaceuticals.
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.
PhD Supervision Interests
I have a range of available projects in Raman spectroscopy for biomolecular characterisation and single cell Raman microspectroscopy, 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.
Raman Spectroscopy of Live Cell Invasion of 3D nano-fabricated scaffolds
01/03/2018 → 28/02/2019
Evaluating the use of Raman Spectroscopy to determine topological isoforms of plasmid DNA
01/09/2015 → 29/02/2016
- Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy