Alumni Spotlight: Randolph Ashton (’99)
Dr. Randolph Ashton (’99) attended Governor’s School in its early days. He remembers learning from gifted teachers like Pat Taylor, John Wilkes, and Phil Tharp, and running for legendary track and field coach Jim Holdren. “While the building was not as nice as GSGIS’s current location, the people and the learning atmosphere were still the same,” he says. “GSGIS was a highly enjoyable experience where both my mind and body were challenged, and the work ethic and love for learning and exploration that was nurtured by the GS has remained with me through the years.”
Dr. Ashton went to Hampton University on a full scholarship, where he majored in chemical engineering and participated in track and field as a decathlete. He next enrolled in the Chemical Engineering Ph.D. program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he conducted research in neural tissue engineering. “This remained my focus through postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and in my own laboratory as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,” he explains. “Currently, my lab melds engineering, human pluripotent stem cell technology, material science, and neuroscience to develop novel regenerative cell therapies for and tissues models of brain and spinal cord tissues.”
At UW-M, Dr. Ashton teaches biomedical engineering, runs a research lab, publishes articles, and files patents on his lab’s discoveries. “The best part of my job is using my knowledge and imagination to develop innovative approaches to help cure neurological disorders,” Dr. Ashton says. He is also a part of a new National Science Foundation-funded Engineering Research Center. “The mission of the center is to develop the scientific and logistical framework to support the clinical implementation of regenerative cell and tissue therapies to the general public.This will take both scientific discoveries and technological advancements to be sure that such treatments are standardized and efficacious each and every time they are provided to a patient. I’m honored to be part of the scientific team working on this critical problem.”
This profile originally appeared in our 2016-17 annual report.