Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Advanced Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 2241johanna.jackson Website




Building E - Sir Michael UrenWhite City Campus





Jo Jackson is an Advanced Research Fellow, Alzheimer's Society Dementia Research Leader and UK DRI Emerging Leader at the UK Dementia Research Institute centre at Imperial. Her group takes a multi-‘omic and imaging approach to provide a mechanistic insight into the vulnerability of synaptic components in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). This enables her group to identify and test molecular targets to achieve the vision of therapeutically targeting the synapse in AD. 

Dr Jackson completed her PhD at Imperial College and post docs at Lund University and Imperial. She gained extensive experience studying synaptic integration in models of axonal injury and epilepsy. She then joined Eli Lilly where she established an in vivo two-photon imaging platform to characterise synaptic changes and other disease processes in pre-clinical models of AD. Her group was the first to simultaneously image both pre- and post-synaptic components as the pathology prgresses. At Lilly, she co-chaired their Neuroplasticity Drug Discovery platform and proposed ways to therapeutically target the synapse in AD.

Since returning to Imperial, Dr Jackson has led the UK DRI Multi-‘omics Atlas Project; an open resource mapping the cellular pathology of AD. This project has involved establishing a comprehensive multi-'omic atlas characterising the pathology of human Alzheimer's Disease and in cohorts with genetic risk variants. More information can be found at

Her current work aims to investigate selective vulnerability of pre- vs post-synaptic components and to understand mechanisms of their vulnerability such as protein synthesis or degradation. This will be used to determine the impact of repurposed drugs on these vulnerabilities and finally to validate biomarkers to track synaptic changes through disease or to determine drug efficacy. This allows her group to understand the mechanisms of synaptopathy and, as the loss of synapses closely correlates with cognitive decline in AD, start to develop a synapse-targeting treatment for therapeutic benefit.

Dr Jackson is also the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for the Department of Brain Sciences.  

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Fancy N, Willumsen N, Tsartsalis S, et al., 2022, Mechanisms contributing to differential genetic risks for <i>TREM2 R47H</i> and <i>R62H</i> variants in Alzheimer’s Disease

Canty A, Jackson J, Huang L, et al., 2020, In vivo imaging of injured cortical axons reveals a rapid onset form of Wallerian degeneration, BMC Biology, ISSN:1741-7007

Jackson JS, Johnson JD, Meftah S, et al., 2020, Differential aberrant structural synaptic plasticity in axons and dendrites ahead of their degeneration in tauopathy

Stephen T, Tamagnin F, Piegsa J, et al., 2019, Imbalance in the response of pre- and post-synaptic components to amyloidopathy, Scientific Reports, Vol:9, ISSN:2045-2322

Jackson J, Jambrina E, Li J, et al., 2019, Targeting the Synapse in Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontiers in Neuroscience, Vol:13

Jackson JS, Witton J, Johnson JD, et al., 2017, Altered synapse stability in the early stages of tauopathy, Cell Reports, Vol:18, ISSN:2211-1247, Pages:3063-3068

Canty AJ, Huang L, Jackson J, et al., 2013, In-vivo single neuron axotomy triggers axon regeneration to restore synaptic density in specific cortical circuits, Nature Communications

Canty, Teles-Grilo Ruivo, Nesarajah, et al., 2013, Synaptic elimination and protection after minimal injury depend on cell type and their pre-lesion structural dynamics in the adult cerebral cortex., Journal of Neuroscience

Wood JC, Jackson JS, Jakubs K, et al., 2011, Functional integration of new hippocampal neurons following insults to the adult brain is determined by characteristics of pathological environment, Experimental Neurology, Vol:229, ISSN:0014-4886, Pages:484-493

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