Jo Anne Stratton

Contact Information
Email address: 
jo.stratton [at]

Jo Anne Stratton’s research interests are inspired by the complex and context-dependent interactions of immune cells within the nervous system which function to modulate repair and plasticity, but can also underlie pathologies such as demyelination and axonal degeneration leading to cognitive impairment and sensory/motor deficits. Her research platform spans basic in vitro cell culture interrogation of cellular interactions, to transgenic animal models which recapitulate responses to different injuries and diseases, to human cellular and histological analyses.

In particular, Stratton studies the function of one largely understudied, specialized glia cell in the central nervous system: the ependymal cell, to explore its role in multiple sclerosis (MS) and neurodegeneration. Ependymal cells are multiciliated cells that form the brain’s ventricular epithelium and provide a niche for neural stem cells (NSCs) in the ventricular subventricular zone (V-SVZ) but have been difficult to study due to a lack of transgenic labelling techniques that can effectively distinguish ependymal cells from neighboring NSCs. This problem also makes it difficult to study their direct interactions with and response to the immune system under homeostatic and injured or diseased states.

She developed a transgenic system that allows for targeted manipulation of ependymal cells and provided a definitive description of their transcriptional profile (on a single cell level). Since ependymal cells play an indispensable role in nutrient delivery and waste removal (processes affected in MS), and are the primary gateway between the CNS and the periphery, they are a key component of her research platform.

Selected publications: 

STRATTON JA*, Shah P*, Stykel M, Abbasi S, Sharma S, Mayr K, Koblinger K, Whelan P, Biernaskie J. Single cell transcriptomics and fate mapping of ependymal cells reveals an absence of neural stem cell function. Cell, 2018 May 3;173(4):1045-1057.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.03.063.

STRATTON JA, Holmes A, Rosin NL, Sinha S, Burma N, Trang T, Midha R, Biernaskie J. Macrophages regulate Schwann cell dynamics following nerve injury. Cell Reports, 2018 04 Sept; 24(10): P2561-2572.E6. doi:

STRATTON JA, Prajay T. Shah, Jeff Biernaskie. A tale of two cousins: Ependymal cells, quiescent neural stem cells and potential mechanisms driving their functional divergence. FEBS, 2019 286(16) doi: 10.1111/febs.14930

STRATTON JA*, Sarthak Sinha*, Wisoo Shin, Elodie Labit, Tak-Ho Chu, Prajay T. Shah, Rajiv Midha, Jeff Biernaskie. Droplet Barcoding-Based Single Cell Transcriptomics of Adult Mammalian Tissues. J. Vis. Exp. 2019. 143, e58709, doi:10.3791/58709

Dale Hatrock, Nina Caporicci-Dinucci and STRATTON JA. Ependymal cells and multiple sclerosis: proposing a relationship. Neural Regen Res, 2019 (Accepted)

Research areas: 
Neuroimmunological Diseases

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