Matthew Schrag, MD, PhD

SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

Matthew S. Schrag, MD, PhD, was never in one place for too long. Growing up a military brat meant he was always moving around the country with his family.

He spent most of his teenage years in rural eastern Washington State, but wandered to the northern mid-west for his undergraduate degree at the University of North Dakota where he first got involved in Alzheimer’s research in the lab of Othman Ghribi, PhD. Then, he headed to California.

Matthew went on to attend Loma Linda University School of Medicine in southern California. There, he decided to get a PhD as well, in the lab of famed neurosurgeon Wolff Kirsch. After graduation, Dr. Schrag completed his residency at Yale New Haven Hospital at Yale University in Connecticut where he specialized in neurology.

Alzheimer’s disease continues to be the focus of Dr. Schrag’s research. Currently, he is working toward a cure for cerebral amyloid angiopathy, or “CAA,” a common neuropathological condition of patients who have Alzheimer’s. He works toward this goal with colleagues in the “Schrag LAB” at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Schrag believes this is an exciting time to be working in neurology, and is trying to bring a sense of urgency to the research setting.

“Translational researchers who are working both in the clinic and the lab see the way a disease affects patients,” he said. “Bringing scientists and patients closer together energizes both parties. Our patients are partners in our research and I think when patients see us working to understand CAA better, it gives them hope,” he added, “while simultaneously reminding us who we’re working for.”

Dr. Schrag said he thinks a cure for CAA is on the horizon, and he is confident that the group of scientists studying it today will make a major impact on Alzheimer’s.

“We’ve seen huge breakthroughs in other diseases in our generation, especially in stroke, epilepsy and neuroinflammation. We fully expect to see that with Alzheimer’s and CAA. That’s part of why neurology is such a great field right now,” Schrag said.

When Dr. Schrag isn’t at work, he enjoys working around the hobby farm where he, his wife and their new baby girl live outside of Nashville. He enjoys taking care of the horses, gardening, looking after the bees, and can always be happy with an afternoon spent fishing; though, he is currently changing a lot more diapers than fishing hooks.

Last year, Dr. Schrag traveled to Florida with his wife, Sarah, to attend his first-ever SCNS meeting. He enjoyed getting to know other medical professionals and said he would definitely be back. In fact, he will be featured as one of the speakers for the 47th Annual Meeting in 2021 and is looking forward to visiting Clearwater Beach with his family.