Dr Nicholas Ashton
Associate Professor of Neurochemistry
Place of work / study:
Area of Research:
Biomarkers in Neurology
How is your work funded?
Various charitable foundations across Europe (mainly UK and Sweden)
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am Associate Professor of Neurochemistry at the Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry at the University Gothenburg in the group of Professor’s Henrik Zetterberg and Kaj Blennow. I also hold a senior researcher position at the department of Old Age Psychiatry, King’s College London, and Stavanger University in Norway. I received my PhD in 2017 from King’s College London in the group of Sir Professor Simon Lovestone.
I have more than a decade of experience in biofluid analysis and assay development for Alzheimer’s disease, which ranges from discovery mass spectrometry methods to ultra-sensitive immunoassays. Recently this has produced ultra-sensitive single molecular array (Simoa) assays for phosphorylated tau in blood, which are now widely used in research settings, therapeutics trials and being validated for clinical use. Current research now focuses on understanding different tau and synaptic forms in biofluids and how they may contribute to the knowledge of disease pathogenesis and ultimately clinical use. I have published >150 original research articles in field of fluid biomarkers and in 2021. In 2021, it was an honour to receive the Queen of Sweden Prize to a Young Alzheimer Researcher for his contribution dementia research and 2022 received the Viola Bergqvist award for mentorship.
Other than this, I avidly follow Football and support Everton (for my sins), try to play squash, golf and Padel (sports you play when you hit >35). I have a Bernese Mountain Dog called Albert, who is our lab mascot.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I spent 2010-2011 travelling around southern Africa performing Cataract surgery in very remote areas. Coincidentally, it matched with the World Cup in South Africa…
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
I first got into Dementia research through my Masters project – where a challenge of diagnosing Brain disorders in novel ways was presented in a fun, exciting and engaging way. This important style of mentorship continued with Dr. Abdul Hye and Professor Simon Lovestone at King’s College London.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
Develop a niche in Science but do not isolate yourself. Be open to new projects, new ideas, and new skills, you do not know where they may lead. It is important to develop bioinformatics skills to the point where you can independently analysis your own data. Do this now and not when “you have more time” because that never arrives – I have learnt this the hard way!
What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
Peter Crouch – How to Be a Footballer. I don’t recommend it.