Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Dr. Anne Croy

Each year, the Prizes for Excellence in Research are awarded to top-ranking researchers at Queen’s who have made significant contributions to their field, paving the way for future scholars to follow in their footsteps and expanding the innovative world of research at the university. Recently, Leigh Cameron interviewed each recipient of the 2015 prize, exploring their research interests and inspirations.

[Dr. Anne Croy]
Photo of Anne Croy by Bernard Clark

Dr. Anne Croy is a professor of reproductive immunology and the Canada Research Chair in Reproduction, Development, and Sexual Function. A Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, her main research focus is the Natural Killer lymphocyte, a white blood cell which can affect the amount of blood flowing to a developing fetus.

What is next for your research?

Since I’ve been at Queen’s, I’ve pretty well focused on mouse models for preeclampsia, a pregnancy-associated syndrome only seen in humans. I’ve become very interested in children born to women who experienced preeclampsia while the child was a fetus. The offspring of these pregnancies have been studied mostly when they’re about 70-75 years old using very old retrospective databases analyzed statistically by epidemiologists. These older offspring were found to have a higher incidence of stroke, more depression, some cognitive impairments and more rapid rate of cognitive decline compared to appropriate control groups. So, we started with colleagues here studying children who are 8-10 years old, and we’ve made some very interesting preliminary findings. It’s only pilot study work, and we’re not saying there’s anything wrong with these children, but there are changes in their brains that we think support the findings reported about stroke and the cognitive changes. So, I’m very interested in expanding that study, including the use of MRI, which is atypical in the field of immunology.

What’s the most interesting place you’ve visited for your research?

I can’t narrow it to one! I had a long-term collaboration in Brazil, and we developed an exchange program for PhD students between Queen’s and the University of Campinas near Sao Paulo. My earlier interactions were in Japan. I visited a colleague a number of times who was in Osaka, and then did a sabbatical at the University of Tokyo. I was treated extremely well.

Seeing how things are done in other countries and what their strengths are is wonderful. In South America, their systems weren’t the same as ours – what they accomplished impressed you so much because you know it was so much more difficult for them to achieve it. In Japan, it was the language, the culture, the level of hard work and commitment, cleanliness, punctuality, very formal interactions. I was held up as a female role model for all the veterinary students and faculty because it was very foreign for them to have a woman leader.

What advice would you give to the next generation of researchers?

Pick a research question for which you have passion, but for which society does as well. And then work really hard! I think the other thing is take time to celebrate your accomplishments. If you don’t celebrate, nobody celebrates. So you’ve got to keep yourself and your team motivated.