Anthony Ashton

Dr. Anthony Ashton

Senior Lecturer and Principle Investigator

School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Maudland Building, MB137

+44 (0) 1772 89 3509

Subject Areas: Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Physiology and Pharmacology, Neuroscience

Anthony is an expert in molecular neurobiology and his research interests mean that he is very knowledgeable about physiology, pharmacology, cell biology and cell signalling. He is the course leader for the BSc in Physiology and Pharmacology

Anthony is research active within the area of pharmacy and biomedical sciences and is a member of the Neuronal and Tissue Dysfunction Research Group.

Full Profile

Anthony obtained a BSc from Warwick University and a PhD from Imperial College London. He has been an active researcher for more than 30 years. His research focus for all this period has been on the molecular basis of neurotransmitter release. In the past Anthony has worked on specific toxins that either inhibited neurotransmitter release (Clostridial botulinum toxins) or stimulated release (toxin from the black widow spider). His specific interests is the precise mechanisms by which synaptic vesicles exocytose and release their content. In the last few years we have concentrated on proving that synaptic vesicles can exocytose by two mechanisms (Kiss-and-run and full fusion) and that vesicles can switch between these two modes depending on various conditions such as changes in the intracellular calcium and protein phosphorylation. The significance of this is borne out by the fact that we have discovered that in a model for type one diabetes, nerve terminals from such diabetic tissue exhibit more kiss-and-run and we are trying to correlate this with changes in behaviour that may reflect deficits in memory.

Anthony utilises his expertise to teach about the central nervous system and the brain in the second year of the Bioscience courses and on the specialised Physiology Pharmacology modules in the final year including a module specifically entitled Molecular Neurobiology.

As he still works in the laboratory, Anthony contribute to the teaching of research skills in the second and third year of the Bioscience degree courses. He also lectures to pharmacists about carrying out research.

He has a PgCertHe and this has enabled Anthony to adapt his teaching methods to cater for all types of student learners.

Anthony offers undergraduate projects which are carried out in his research laboratory and involve the current research being carried out by his research team.


Ashton A. C., Sihra T. S, Babar P., Patel M. H., Bhuva D. A, Patel, Singh, D and Green J. (2013) Switching between distinct modes of synaptic vesicle exocytosis depends upon changes in protein phosphorylation and calcium: the contribution of dynamins and myosin 2. In preparation for submission to Neuron in early 2013.

Ashton A. C., Patel, M.H., Bhuva, D.A.,Sihra T. S. (2011) Regulation of modes of synaptic vesicle release in control and diabetic nerve terminals Abstract 445.17/D42 for Society of Neuroscience 2011 Washington

Ashton A. C., Patel, M.H.,Sihra T. S. (2009) Changes in protein phosphorylation and calcium regulate switching between distinct modes of synaptic vesicle excoytosis Abstract 420.12/D2 for Society of Neuroscience 2009 Chicago

More publications


Currently director of studies for two PhD students and second supervisor for one PhD, and two MSc by research students.


1. The identification of proteins regulating the switch between the two modes of neuronal exocytosis and its importance in the diabetes related cognition complications.

2. Changes in the mode of exocytosis in nerve terminals from streptozotocin-treated rats and the role these might play in both diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

3. Streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats: cerebrocortical insulin, glucose & ATP levels and behaviour, with relevance to the switching of modes of neuronal exocytosis

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Course leader for BSc Physiology and Pharmacology

Module leader for BL3212 Drug Therapies 2: CNS, pain and cancer, BL3213 Molecular Neurobiology, BL4207 MSc research projects

Teach on BL2201, BL2205, BL2208, BL3201, BL3202, BL3212, BL3213, BL3298, BL3299, BL4201, BL4207, BL4210


Annual Society of Neuroscience Conference Washington 2011

Annual Society of Neuroscience Conference Chicago October 2009

Biochemical Society Meeting on Synaptopathies Newquay, Cornwall, September 2009

Gordon Conference on Synaptic Transmission University of New England, Biddeford, Maine, USA July 2008

Satellite Meeting of IBRO World Congress “The secretory vesicle cycle and novel approaches to its analysis” Brisbane, Australia 2007

British Neuroscience Association 19th national Meeting Harrogate, UK 2007

Annual Society of Neuroscience Conference Atlanta, Georgia, USA 2006


Society of Neuroscience

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy