Craig A Aspinwall, PhD

Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Phone Number: 
(520) 621-6338

UACC Information

UACC Organizational Unit(s): 
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Aspinwall is a professor in the Department Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UA, a member of UA's BIO5 Institute for Collaborative Bioresearch, UA Cancer Center and UA Sarver Heart Center, and a participant in the Biological Chemistry Program and Training Grant.  His research group synergystically focuses on the application of analytical chemistry to better understand biological systems and the subsequent application of biological knowledge and materials to develop new analytical technologies. The majority of their research efforts are focused on the development of biomimetic and biofunctionalized sensor strategies that allow detection of key signaling components, while also proving useful for other key bioanalyses including drug discovery and clinical diagnostics.  Their long term goals are to develop a molecular level understanding of the chemical and physical processes involved in cellular signaling. Specifically, they are active in the areas of biofunctionalized nanomaterials, biochemical sensor design and chemical separations. 

Dr. Aspinwall's group is one of only a few in the world that has the capabilities to regularly synthesize polymerizable phospholipid membranes from natural and synthetic materials and subsequently functionalize these membranes with functional ion channels, including ligand gated and chimeric ion channels, to make novel measurements.  Coupled with their other sensors and separations geometries, they are at the forefront of integrating polymeric lipid biomaterials into real-world analysis platforms.

Dr. Aspinwall has worked extensively with pancreatic b-cells, b-cell lines and islets in my 20+ years in active research and actively collaborate with multiple diabetes research groups in the US and abroad.  He has a demonstrated record of successful and productive research projects, as PI and co-investigator in the field of bioanalytical chemistry, cell biology and biomedical engineering.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Therapeutic Development
Selected Publications: 

Dr. Aspinwall's NCBI bibliography

  1. Zhou Y.; Bright L.K.; Shi W.; Aspinwall C.A.; Baker, L.A.”Ion channel probes for scanning ion conductance microscopy.”  Langmuir, 30: 15351-15355, 2014 PMID: 25425190; PMCID: PMC4278694.
  2. Baker, C.A.; Bright, L.K.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Photolithographic fabrication of microapertures with well-defined, three-dimensional geometries for suspended lipid membrane studies.” Anal. Chem. 85:9078-9086, 2013. PMID:  23987300
  3. Aspinwall, C.A.; Qian, W.; Roper, M.G.; Kulkarni, R.N.; Kahn, C.R.; Kennedy, R.T.  “Roles of insulin receptor substrate-1, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and release of intracellular Ca2+ stores in insulin-stimulated insulin secretion in b-cells.” J. Biol. Chem.  275:  22331-22338, 2000. PMCID: PMCID not required.
  4. Qian, W.J.; Aspinwall, C.A.; Kennedy, R.T.  “Temporally and spatially resolved measurement of Zn2+ efflux from pancreatic b-cells by confocal fluorescence microscopy.” Anal. Chem.  72:  711-717, 2000. PMCID: PMCID not required
  5. Bränström, R.; Leibiger, I.B.; Leibiger, B.; Aspinwall, C.A.; Corkey, B.E.; Berggren, P-O.; Larsson, O. “Single Residue (K332A) Substitution in Kir6.2 Abolishes the Stimulatory Effect of Long-Chain Acyl-CoA Ester: Indications for a Long-Chain Acyl-CoA Ester Binding Motif” Diabetologia, 50: 1670-1677, 2007.  PMCID: PMCID not required.
  6. Aspinwall, C.A.; Huang, L.; Lakey, J.R.T.; Kennedy, R.T.  “Comparison of amperometric methods for detection of exocytosis from single pancreatic beta-cells of different species.”  Anal. Chem.  71:  5551-5556, 1999. PMCID: PMCID not required.
  7. Rauf, F.; Huang, Y.; Muhandiramlage, T.P.; Aspinwall, C.A.  “Analysis of protein kinase A activity in insulin-secreting cells using a cell-penetrating protein substrate and capillary electrophoresis.” Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 397: 3359-67, 2010.  PMCID: PMC 3064950.
  8. Aspinwall, C.A.; Lakey, J.R.T.; Kennedy, R.T.  “Insulin-stimulated insulin secretion in single pancreatic b-cells.”  J. Biol. Chem.  274:  6360-6365, 1999. PMCID: not required.
  9. Heitz, B.A.; Xu, J.; Hall, H.K., Jr.; Aspinwall, C.A.; Saavedra, S.S. “Enhanced long-term stability for single ion channel recordings using suspended poly(lipid) bilayers" J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131: 6662-6663, 2009.  PMCID: PMC2682430
  10. Heitz, B.A.; Jones I.W.; Hall, H.K. Jr.; Aspinwall, C.A.; Saavedra, S.S. “Fractional polymerization of a suspended planar bilayer creates a fluid, highly stable membrane for ion channel recordings.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132: 7086-7093, 2010. PMCID: PMC2882248.
  11. Bright, L.K.; Baker, C.A.; Agasid, M.T.; Ma, L.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Decreased aperture surface energy enhances electrical, mechanical, and temporal stability of suspended lipid membranes.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 5: 11918-11926, 2013 PMID:  24187929; PMCID: PMC3909927.
  12. Heitz, B.A.; Xu, J.; Jones, I.W.; Keogh, J.P.; Comi, T.J.; Hall, H.K.; Aspinwall, C.A.; Saavedra, S.S. “Polymerized Planar Suspended Lipid Bilayers for Single Ion Channel Recordings: Comparison of Several Dienoyl Lipids.” Langmuir, 27:1882-1890, 2011.  PMCID: PMC3043114.
  13. Gallagher, E.S.; Adem, S.; Baker, C.A.; Ratnayaka, S.; Jones, I.W.; Hall, Jr., H.K., Saavedra, S.S.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Highly Stabilized Phospholipid Bilayers as Stationary Phases for Capillary Liquid Chromatography” J. Chrom. A. 1385: 28-34, 2015; PMID: 25670414
  14. Gallagher, E.S.; Mansfield, E.M.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Stabilized Phospholipid Membranes in Chromatography: Towards Membrane Protein-Functionalized Stationary Phases” Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 406: 2223-2229, 2014. PMCID: PMC3969766
  15. Gallagher, E.S.; Adem, S.M.; Bright, L.K.; Calderon, I.A.C.; Mansfield, E.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Hybrid Phospholipid Bilayer Coatings for Separations of Cationic Proteins in Capillary Zone Electrophoresis” Electrophoresis, 35: 1099-1105, 2014 PMID: 24459085; PMCID: PMC4041483.
  16. Mansfield, E.; Ross, E.E.; Keogh, J.P.; D’Ambruoso, G.D.; Huang, Y.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Fabrication and characterization of spatially-defined, multiple component chemically-functionalized domains in enclosed silica channels using cross-linked phospholipid membranes” Langmuir, 23: 11326-11333, 2007, PMID: 17892310; PMCID: PMC2654225.
  17. Roberts, D.L.; Ma, Y.; Bowles, S.E.; Janczak, C.M.; Pyun, J.; Saavedra, S.S.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Polymer-stabilized phospholipid vesicles with a controllable, pH-dependent disassembly mechanism” Langmuir, 25:  1908-1910, 2009.  PMCID: PMC2654230.
  18. Muhandiramlage, T.P.; Cheng, Z.L.; Roberts, D.L.; Keogh, J.P. ; Hall Jr.,H.K.; Aspinwall, C.A., "Determination of pore sizes and relative porosity in porous nanoshell architectures using dextran retention with single monomer resolution and proton permeation", Anal. Chem., 84: 9754-9761, 2012.  PMID: 23083108, PMCID: PMC3502667.
  19. Cheng, Z.; D’Ambruoso, G.D.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Stabilized Porous Phospholipid Nanoshells” Langmuir 22: 9507-9511, 2006. PMCID: PMCID not required.
  20. Li, Z; ;Muhandiramlage, T.P.; Keogh, J.P.; Hall, Jr., H.K.; Aspinwall, C.A. “Aptamer-functionalized porous phospholipid nanoshells for direct measurement of Hg2+ in urine” Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 407: 953-960, 2015 .PMCID: PMC4305462.
Collaborative Research: 
5R01 EB007047-08  (Saavedra/Aspinwall, MPI)                                  09/30/06-05/31/16
Sniffer Biosensors Based on Ion Channel-GPCR Chimeras and Polylipid Membranes
The primary goals of this project are the development and application of a stabilized lipid bilayers functionalized with ion channel coupled receptors for chemical sensing.
Role:  Co-PI
5R01 GM095763-04   (Aspinwall, PI)                                                   05/01/11-04/30/16
Stabilized Biomimetic Separation Media
The primary goals of this project are the development of membrane protein functionalized, lipid-coated support matrices for advanced separation of complex mixtures.
Role: PI
5R21 EB019133-02    (Aspinwall, PI)                                                   06/01/14-05/31/16
Hybrid Nanomaterials for Dynamic, Intracellular Radioisotope Detection
The primary goals of this project are to develop core-shell nanoparticle scintillators capable of detection 3H and 35S labeled compounds in the cellular environment.
Role: PI

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
2015-Present    Research Member, University of Arizona Cancer Center
2014-Present    Associate and Full Professor, Biomedical Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2009                 Visiting Professor, The Rolf Luft Research Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm Sweden
2008-Present    Affiliate, Sarver Heart Center, University of Arizona
2006-Present    Member, BIO5 Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2002-Present    Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
2000-2001       Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Ames Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy, Iowa State University (Advisor:  Prof. Edward S. Yeung), Ames, Iowa
1999-2000       Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institute (Advisor: Prof. Olof Larsson), Stockholm, Sweden
1994-1999       Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Chemistry, University of Florida (Advisor: Prof. Robert T. Kennedy), Gainesville, Florida
1993                 Intern chemist, Research and Development Department, Mydrin, Inc., Calhoun, Georgia;
1992                 NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates, Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
2015                 IUPAC US National Committee Young Observer
2015                 Organizing Committee, GTCBio Bioanalytical Sensors Conference
2011-Present    Member, International Advisory Board, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Chromatography and Separations Chemistry
2011                 ACS GREET (Global Research Experiences, Exchanges, and Training) Scholar
2010-2012       Member, A-Page Features Panel, Analytical Chemistry
2009                 ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Award for Young Investigators in Separation Science
2008                 Keynote Speaker, International Chemistry Conference, Taipei
2005-2011       NSF CAREER Award
2003                 ACS Leadership Development Award
2002-2005       3M Nontenured Faculty Award
2000-2002       NIH NRSA Fellow; inactive
2000-2001       DOE Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
1999-2000       Swedish Institute Cultural Exchange Scholar
1997-1998       ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Full Year Fellow

Academic Information

Post Doctoral: 
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; Ames Lab., Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Analytical Chemistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Undergraduate School: 
Chemistry, Berry College, Mt. Berry, GA