Dr. JoAnne McLaurin
Senior Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute
Professor, University of Toronto
Dr. McLaurin obtained her PhD from the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Toronto in 1992. She then undertook post-doctoral training in neuroimmunology at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, from 1991 to 1994, and in structural biology at the Ontario Cancer Institute from 1994 to 1997. She joined the CRND in 1997-2011, the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology in 1998, where she is currently Full Professor and joined Sunnybrook Research Institute in 2014 as a Senior Scientist.
Dr. McLaurin is interested in the abnormal assembly of proteins and how these proteins damage brain cells. Specifically, her work focuses on the role of the amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) binding molecules in the formation of senile plaques and Abeta-induced neurotoxicity which lead to neurodegeneration associated with aging and Alzheimer Disease. She is searching for molecules that are able to decrease the ability of Abeta to induce injury and ultimately death of neurons. These molecules may prove useful in the development of therapeutic agents that prevent the cognitive decline associated with aging and disease. She has developed a small molecule, scyllo-inositol, which is in clinical trials for the neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. McLaurin has been awarded the Premier’s Research Excellence Award and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Award. Her work is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating grant and University-Industry programs, the National Science and Engineering Research Council Operating grant and Collaborative Health Research Programs, Canadian Foundation for Innovation as well as from the Scottish Rite and Cryptic Rite Charitable Research Foundations. Dr. McLaurin has published over 100 papers, mostly in high ranking peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Medicine, Nature, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Journal of Molecular Biology.