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 Nick Ashton

Nick Ashton


Senior Lecturer in Physiology



Brief biography

I trained initially in Zoology at the University of Sheffield (1983) before coming to the University of Manchester to study for a PhD in Renal Physiology (1987). After completing postdoctoral positions in Manchester and at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, I returned to the UK to take up a lectureship at the University of Sunderland (1993). I was subsequently appointed as a lecturer at the University of Manchester in1998 and have been senior lecturer since 2007. In 2012 I was appointed Honorary Professor of Physiology by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Special interests

  1. Developmental programming of the kidney: understanding how the environment in utero affects kidney develop and leads to long term changes in renal function.
  2. Urotensin II in health and disease: understanding the role of urotensin II in the regulation of cardiovascular and renal function in hypertension and chronic kidney disease.

My lab combines classical in vivo renal physiology techniques with molecular approaches in rodent models.

I am a member of the Physiological Society, American Physiological Society, Renal Association and International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.

I have served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Hypertension (2006-2010) and the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (2010-2013). I am currently an Academic Editor for PLOS ONE.

Education & Training

I have supervised 10 PhD and 7 MRes/MPhil students and currently have 2 PhD and 3 MRes students in the laboratory. I organise and contribute to a number of undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Life Sciences, including in vivo skills training and advanced cardiovascular pathophysiology. I am a tutor for the Phase 1 Nutrition and Metabolism module in the MB ChB programme and I am the Phase 2 Module Co-Lead for Nutrition, Metabolism and Excretion


54 peer-reviewed publications.

Publications since 2008

  1. Hyde, G.D., Taylor, R.F., Ashton, N., Wu, H.S., Gilmore, A.P. and Canfield, A.E. (2014) Axl tyrosine kinase protects against tubulo-interstitial apoptosis and progression of renal failure in a murine model of chronic kidney disease and hyperphosphataemia.  PLOS ONE in press
  2. Forty, E.J. and Ashton, N. (2013) The urotensin system is up-regulated in the pre-hypertensive spontaneously hypertensive rat. PLOS ONE 8: e83317.
  3. Anders, C., Ashton, N., Dilworth, M.R. and Woolf, A.S. (2013) Ex vivo modeling of chemical synergy in kidney cystogenesis. PLOS ONE 8: e57797
  4. Forty, E.J. and Ashton, N. (2012) Ontogeny of the renal urotensin II system in the rat. Experimental Physiology 97: 785-795.
  5. Alwasel, S.H., Barker D.J.P and Ashton, N. (2012) Programmed salt wasting resets postnatal salt appetite, which drives food intake in the rat. Clinical Science 122: 281-288.
  6. Alwasel, S.H. and Ashton, N. (2011) Segmental sodium reabsorption by the renal tubule in prenatally-programmed hypertension: evidence that NKCC2 over-expression is non-functional. Pediatric Nephrology 27: 285-293.
  7. Alwasel, S.H., Kaleem, I., Sahajpal, V. and Ashton, N. (2010)  Maternal protein restriction reduces angiotensin II AT1 and AT2 receptor expression in the fetal rat kidney. Kidney and Blood Pressure Research 33: 251-259.
  8. Alwasel, S.H., Sahajpal, V. and Ashton, N. (2010) Renal magnesium handling is not subject to developmental programming. Kidney and Blood Pressure Research 33: 94-99.
  9. Clancy, M., Marshall, D., Dilworth, M.R., Ashton, N., Bravery, C.A. and Brenchley, P.E. (2009) Immunosuppression is essential for successful allogeneic transplantation of the metanephros. Transplantation 88:151-159.
  10. Alwasel, S.H. and Ashton, N. (2009) Prenatal programming of renal sodium handling in the rat.  Clinical Science 117:75-84
  11. Bogzil, A.H. and Ashton, N. (2009) Relaxin-induced changes in renal function and RXFP1 receptor expression in the female rat. In: Relaxin and Related Peptides: Fifth International Conference: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1160: 313–316.
  12. Stanley, J.L., Ashton, N., Taggart, M.J., Davidge, S.T. and Baker, P.N. (2009) Uterine artery function in a mouse model of pregnancy complicated by diabetes Vascular Pharmacology 50: 8-13.
  13. Abdel-Razik, A.E.S., Balment, R.J. and Ashton, N. (2008) Enhanced renal sensitivity of the spontaneously hypertensive rat to urotensin II. American Journal of Physiology -Renal Physiology 295:1239-1247.
  14. Abdel-Razik, A.E.S., Forty, E.J., Balment, R.J. and Ashton, N. (2008) Renal haemodynamic and tubular actions of urotensin II in the rat. Journal of Endocrinology 198: 617-624.
  15. Dilworth, M.R., Clancy, M., Marshall, D., Bravery, C.A., Brenchley, P.E. and Ashton, N. (2008) Development and functional capacity of transplanted rat metanephroi. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 23: 871-879.
  16. Lu W., Abdel-Razik, A.E.S., Ashton, N. and Balment R.J. (2008) Urotensin II: lessons from comparative studies for general endocrinology. General and Comparative Endocrinology 157:14-20.