Dr. Joan Coates is a Full Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Missouri. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in General Agriculture in 1987 and DVM degree in 1990 from the University of Missouri. In 1990-1991, she then went on to a small animal rotating internship at Texas A&M University and then from 1991-1994 completed a 3-year neurology and neurosurgery residency at Auburn University where she also completed a Master of Science degree. Also in 1994, she became board-certified in veterinary neurology through the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Since, she has served on the faculty at the University of Georgia between 1994 and 1997 and at Texas A&M University between 1997 and 2003. In 2003, she returned to the University of Missouri as a faculty member. She currently serves as Section Leader for Neurology & Neurosurgery in the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. As a veterinary clinical neurologist and neurosurgeon, she is co-manages the Neurology & Neurosurgery Service at the Veterinary Health Center Small Animal Hospital. As a clinician scientist researcher, she is a member of the Comparative Neurology Program at the College of Veterinary Medicine, which explores the inherited developmental and degenerative diseases of the nervous system and is involved with translational research for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Her area of research focus involves the study of canine degenerative myelopathy as a disease model for translation of therapeutic strategies to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. As an intermediate-sized model of a naturally-occurring neurodegenerative diseases, dogs will yield data more relevant to the human disease. Utilizing established disease measures in canine models provide sensitive and specific milestones of disease progression and therapeutic response that parallels surrogate markers used in human patients. Importantly, canine disease models permit studies of therapy intervention using similar procedures as those in human patients. Demonstrating dosing and delivery paradigms and safety of therapy in the canine disease models will provide key supportive data and improve the probability of clinical trial success.