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Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program

SRI Programs

Photo of JoAnne McLaurin
Dr. JoAnne McLaurin

Senior scientist

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Ave., Room S1 11
Toronto, ON
M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-6100, ext. 7720
Fax: 416-480-5737

Administrative Assistant: Melanie Suttar
Phone: 416-480-6100, ext 3537
Email: melanie.suttar@sri.utoronto.ca

Education:

  • B.Sc., 1983, chemistry, Queen’s University, Canada
  • M.Sc., 1988, clinical biochemistry, University of Toronto, Canada
  • PhD, 1992, clinical biochemistry, U of T, Canada

Appointments and Affiliations:

Research Foci:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Small molecule therapies
  • Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Vascular risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease

Research Summary:

My established research program examines the contribution of comorbid diseases to the risk and the severity of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In light of my research interests, I was the preclinical lead for the Vascular Cognitive Impairment team within the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration and Aging (CCNA) from 2013-2019 and most recently have taken on the role of lead for all preclinical research within the CCNA. My research examines the interaction of risk factors to the course of Alzheimer’s disease, in particular, cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) is the most frequent cerebrovascular condition; its major cause is hypertension, metabolic syndrome and covert stroke; and CSVD is a major contributor to cognitive impairment. The link between CSVD and a wide array of cognitive deficits is well documented, but the pathophysiological mechanism underlying this link remains uncertain. Further, in the recognition that 'pure' Alzheimer’s disease is rare and that mixed pathologies contribute to the majority of dementia cases, my laboratory is developing new rodent models of mixed dementia to understand disease pathology and develop therapeutic interventions.

During the course of my work, I have identified a family of naturally occurring compounds that inhibit the formation of toxic soluble aggregates in AD, which has resulted in three worldwide patents and collaborations with small cap biotechnology and large pharmaceutical industry. Preclinical studies in my laboratory demonstrated efficacy, and subsequent early clinical trials in AD patients were initiated. We are more recently undertaking preclinical development of a gene therapy for AD, in which lost neurons are replaced and neuronal networks re-established in order to improve cognitive function. This successful research program exemplifies the ability of my team to identify target molecules, to develop lead compounds through preclinical development and to translate this knowledge to appropriate international stakeholders.

Selected Publications:

See current publications list at PubMed.

  1. Morrone, C.D., Lai, A.Y., Bishay, J., Hill, M.E., McLaurin, J., Parvalbumin neuroplasticity compensates for somatostatin impairment, maintaining cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease. Translational Neurodegeneration, In Press, 2022.
  2. Lai, A.Y., Joo, I.L., Trivedi, A.U., Dorr, A., Hill, M.E., Stefanovic, B., McLaurin, J., Transient hypertension promotes different profiles of cerebrovascular remodeling in a rat model of normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Brain Res,1758:147369, 2021.
  3. Liu, M., Beckett, T., Thomason, L.A.M., Dorr, A., Stefanovic, B., McLaurin, J. Covert strokes prior to Alzheimer’s disease onset accelerate peri-lesional pathology but not cognitive deficits in an inducible APP mouse model. Brain Res, 1754:147233, 2021.
  4. Dubey,S., Heinen, S., Krantic,S., McLaurin, J., Branch, D., Hynynen,K., Aubert, I., Clinically approved IVIg delivered to the hippocampus with focused ultrasound promotes neurogenesis in a model of Alzheimer’s disease. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 117, 32691-32700, 2020.
  5. Carare, R.O., Aldea R., Agarwal, N., Bacskai, B.J., Bechman, I., Boche, D., Bu, G., Bulters, D., Clemens, A., Counts, S.E., de Leon, M., Eide, P.K., Fossati, S., Greenberg, S.M., Hamel, E., Hawkes, C.A., Koronyo-Hamaoui, M., Hainsworth, A.H., Holtzman, D., Ihara, M., Jefferson, A., Kalaria, R.N., Kipps, C.M., Kanninen, K.M., Leinonen, V., McLaurin, J., Miners, S., Malm, T., Nicoll, J.A.R., Piazza, F., Paul, G., Rich, S.M., Saito, S., Shih, A., Scholtzova, H., Synder, H., Snyder, P., Thormodsson, F.R., van Veluw, S.J., Weller, R.O., Werring, D.J., Wilcock, D., Wilson, M.R., Zlokovic, B.V., Verma, A. Clearance of interstitial fluid (ISF) and CSF (CLIC) group—part of Vascular Professional Interest Area (PIA). Cerebrovascular disease and the failure of elimination of Amyloid‐β from the brain and retina with age and Alzheimer's disease‐Opportunities for Therapy Alzheimer’s disease. Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring, 12(1) e12053, 2020.
  6. Proulx, É, Power, S.K., D K Oliver, D.K., Sargin, D., McLaurin, J., Lambe. E.K., Apamin Improves Prefrontal Nicotinic Impairment in Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease Cerebral Cortex, 30 ( 2) 563–574, 2020.
  7. Morrone, C.D., Bazzigaluppi, P., Beckett, T.L., Hill, M.E., Koletar, M.M., Stefanovic, B. and McLaurin, J. Regional differences in Alzheimer’s disease pathology confound behavioural rescue after Aβ attenuation. Brain 143, 359–373, 2020.
  8. Bazzigaluppi, P., Beckett, T., Koletar, M.M., Hill, M.E., Lai, A.Y., Trivedi, A.U., Thomason, L.A.M., Dorr, A., Gallagher, D., Librach, C., Joo, I.L., McLaurin, J., Stefanovic, B. Combinatorial treatment using umbilical cord perivascular cells and Aβ clearance rescues vascular function following transient hypertension in a rat model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Hypertension, 74:1041–1051, 2019.
  9. Jevtic, S., Sengar, A.S., Salter, M.W., McLaurin, J., The Role of the Immune System in Alzheimer Disease: Etiology and Treatment. Ageing Research Reviews, 40, 84-94, 2017.

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