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JoAnn Buchanan

Scientist I


JoAnn joined the Neural Coding - Electron Microscopy team in 2014. With more than 30 years of experience in electron microscopy, she works to push forward the field of EM Connectomics. She was part of the IARPA team that produced the large volume EM datasets featured on the MICrONS-explorer website. Those data resulted in JoAnn’s current obsession with glial cells in the brain and helped her earn a Ph.D. in 2021 from Northeastern University, where she previously received her M.S. in Cell Biology.

JoAnn spent 25 years at Stanford University doing research and teaching before coming to Seattle. Prior to that, she worked at Harvard, Yale and Boston University Medical Schools. She has also participated as a faculty member in the Neurobiology course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, for many summers. She has worked on a large variety of organisms including fruit fly, leech, mouse, rat, squid, sea slug, mosquito, firefly and human.

Research Focus:

Glial cells are a critical component of the brain. Long viewed as supporting cells to neurons, their roles in maintaining homeostasis, fostering intercellular communications  and reacting to injury and disease, are subjects of intense investigation. I am interested in what functions OPCs(oligodendrocyte precursor cells) play in the brain, and how they become myelinating oligodendrocytes and interact with microglia. Volume electron microscopy has provided large amounts of data that will enable insight into the cell biology of these enigmatic cells.


  • Electron microscopy

  • Cell Biology

  • Neuroanatomy

  • Data analysis

  • Neural Coding

  • EM Connectomics

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