Jacqueline Trotter was born in London, England. She studied Biology with Chemistry at the University of York (U.K.) and then spent six months as a trainee with the European Union in Brussels and Luxembourg where she participated in an environmental research programme. She subsequently obtained a Ph.D. at the University of York in Biology in 1979, working on membrane properties of red blood cells. She worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in neurobiological and immunological laboratories at the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology in Freiburg and Stanford University School of Medicine before returning to the University of Heidelberg, Institute of Neurobiology in 1985 where she built up an independent research group. In 1991 she obtained her Habilitation in Neurobiology at the University of Heidelberg and in 2000 accepted a Professorship at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz where she leads the Unit of Molecular Cell Biology in the Department of Biology.
The research of Jacqueline Trotter focusses on glial cells, the cells that outnumber by many orders of magnitude the neurons in the human brain and whose multiple functions are increasingly appreciated although still incompletely understood. In particular the work of her group focusses on the regulation of the synthesis of myelin, the multilamellar sheath made by oligodendrocytes, which enwraps long neuronal axons and ensures rapid signal transduction. In addition, they work on how the precursors to these myelinating oligodendrocytes, unique glia entering into synaptic contacts with adjacent neurons, are integrated into the neuronal network. These precursor cells receive neuronal signals and as the recent work of the group has shown, they also signal back to the network.