Neuro researcher motivated by her father's story

Jo Anne Stratton first became interested in becoming a scientist after seeing her father’s disease progress to a point where he was living in a wheelchair

Jo Anne Stratton is an Assistant Professor at McGill's Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery who joined The Neuro in 2019. Stratton’s fields of concentration are neuroimmunology and nerve cell regeneration.

Her research aims to contribute to knowledge that will explain the immune-system’s plasticity and repair mechanisms

What motivates you to do the work that you are doing?

I first became interested in becoming a scientist during my undergraduate studies after seeing my father’s multiple sclerosis progress to a point where he was living in a wheelchair.

Since high school, I have always been interested in how the body works, and always took courses that gave me a general understanding of human physiology and biology. This was not enough to satisfy my curious mind, and my strong desire to fight the war against MS, and so I enrolled in specialised neuroscience-related courses and undertook a research-based intensive undergraduate research program at the University of Melbourne. Through this, the spark was lit, and I have been pursuing an academic career ever since.

Understanding how the immune system interacts with brain cells to drive diseases like MS, but also how the immune system drives beneficial outcomes, is what I am excited about. The hope that this knowledge can one day help people suffering from disease is what drives me every day.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

My husband and I are children book authors. We write and illustrate books about the real-life stories of how a person living with disability (about my dad with MS) can still reach for the stars and achieve great things. This year we published 3 books, let me know if you are interested in learning more!

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The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering the highest quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.