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Sandra Ashton

Head of Image Resource facility
Head of Imaging Facility that supports the research and teaching community of St George's University

 As Head of the Image Resource Facility, St George's University my role is to create a supportive environment for our researchers and students to access specialist technical support in the areas of Light Microscopy, Flow Cytometry, and Histology / Histochemistry. The facility is a multi-discipline unit that provides service support as well as allowing users to access equipment, training and resources to develop technical skills and progress research projects. 

With the Image Resource Facility we have the opportunity to work in-line with the strategic and operational goals of the university; to focus on supporting our  community, growing research, strengthening links with St George's Trust and fostering a shared ethos of research-intensive education with our teaching and  research institutes.


Sandra Ashton who joined the St George’s University of London Council in 2021 as the Professional Services representative, is a research support professional who has worked within the cell biology field over the last 30 years. Graduating from UCL as a mature student in 1997 and building on research support experience within competitive laboratories from Guys Hospital (Kings), Royal Free Hospital (UCL) and St George’s University of London; her experience of specialist laboratory skills and the research environment has culminated in appointment as the Head of the Imaging Resource Facility (IRF) at St George’s in 2020. With a keen interest in the research and teaching environment, in 2017, Sandra was appointed by Prof Rachel Allen as the Research Integrity Lead (St Georges University) and the St Georges Research Ethics Committee chair (SGREC); a post she held for 2 years. Since that time working in St George’s University of London Research Operations directorate and strengthening activities in that area, her focus has been to educationally and commercially develop the IRF.

The IRF is a multidiscipline specialist technical facility that works closely with students and staff to assist in the delivery of high-quality research and teaching orientated activities. Training our student body in specialist skills and analysis that strengthen their employability and positively impact their student experience and satisfaction. The facility also works with commercial partners to provide access to equipment and technical support.

An Aurora Women’s Leadership Development Programme alumni, Sandra’s work within the facility also aims to highlight within our civic community the scope of scientific careers and interactions that are possible, working with university colleagues to enrich Outreach, STEM and Public Engagement.


My research interests focus around the vascular remodelling events that occur at the maternal-fetal interface during pregnancy.



Charolidi, N., Host, A J., Ashton, S., Tryfonos, Z., Leslie, K., Thilaganathan, B., Cartwright, J E., Whitley, GS., (2018). First trimester placental endothelial cells from pregnancies with abnormal uterine artery Doppler are more sensitive to apoptotic stimuli. Lab Invest. 2018 Oct 5. doi: 10.1038/s41374-018-0139-z


Leslie K, Whitley GS, Herse F, Dechend R, Ashton SV, Laing K, Thilaganathan B, Cartwright JE. (2015)

Increased apoptosis, altered oxygen signaling, and antioxidant defenses in first-trimester pregnancies with high-resistance uterine artery blood flow. Am J Pathol. 2015 Oct;185(10):2731-41


Ashton, S.V., Whitley, G.St.J., Dash, P.R., Wareing, M., Crocker, I.P.,Baker, P.N., Cartwright, J.E., (2005).

Uterine spiral artery remodelling involves endothelial apoptosis induced by extravillous trophoblasts through Fas/FasL interactions. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol., 25: 102-108.


Al-Shawi, R., Ashton, S.V., Underwood, C., Simons, J.P. (2001).

Expression of the Ror1 and Ror2 receptor tyrosine kinase genes during mouse development. Development Genes and Evolution, 211: 161-171.


Doherty, P., Ashton, S.V., Moore, S.E., Walsh, F.S. (1991b).

Morphoregulatory activities of NCAM and N-CADHERIN can be accounted for By G-Protein- dependent activation of L- and N-type neuronal calcium channels. Cell, 67: 21-33.


Doherty, P., Moolenaar, C.E.C.K., Ashton, S.V., Michalides, R.J.A.M., Walsh, F.S. (1992).

The VASE exon down-regulates the neurite growth-promoting activity of NCAM 140. Nature, 356(6372): 791-793.


Doherty, P., Ashton, S.V., Skaper, S.D., Leon, A., Walsh, F.S. (1992).

Ganglioside modulation of neural cell adhesion molecule and N-cadherin-dependent neurite outgrowth. Journal of Cell Biology, 117:1093-1099.


Walsh, F.S., Furness, J., Moore, S.E., Ashton, S.V., Doherty, P. (1992).

Use of the neural cell adhesion molecule VASE exon by neurons is associated with a specific down regulation of neural cell adhesion molecule dependent neurite outgrowth in the developing cerebellum and hippocampus.

Journal of Neurochemistry, 59: 1959-1962

As a part of the Research Operations Directorate, I work alongside a number of technical and administrative colleagues. My role requires a collaborative relationship with members of the University teaching and research Institutes, Safety, Health and Environment Office, Outreach and Widening Participation, Public Engagement Office and the Estates and Facilities .

Year1 & Year 2 Biomedical Science Tutor: 2016 - 2020

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