McLaughlin Institute
  1. Mike Kavanaugh Takes the Helm at McLaughlin Research

    March 17, 2017 by admin

    Michael Kavanaugh, PhD, Director of the Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience at the University of Montana since 2003, is McLaughlin Research Institute’s new director. Dr. Kavanaugh replaced outgoing director George Carlson in December. “Mike Kavanaugh’s scientific expertise, energy, and desire will make for a powerful leader of this long-historied Montana science institution,” said
    Dr. Leroy Hood, a longtime member of McLaughlin’s Scientific Advisory Committee and, among many other superlative titles, a winner of the National Medal of Science for his outstanding contributions to science and medicine…

    Click here to read entire MRI Spring 2017 Newsletter

  2. Annual Report: July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2016

    September 2, 2016 by admin

    MRI-Cover-R1We are pleased to present McLaughlin Research Institute’s Annual Report: July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2016. You’ll be interested to learn about new approaches used in the lab to further understand neurodegenerative brain diseases, and the efforts to create alternative funding sources to secure our future.

    Click here to view the report

  3. Initiative 181 Qualifies for November 8th, 2016 ballot

    July 18, 2016 by admin

    Article in Great Falls Tribune, July 14, 2016 – Ballot Initiative 181, the Montanans for Research and Cures Initiative

  4. Governor Bullock introduces Montana Alzheimer’s & Dementia State Plan

    June 28, 2016 by admin

    June 20, 2016 marked the beginning of a new day for families suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. In introducing the Montana Alzheimer’s Plan with Governor Bullock, we paid tribute to all those we’ve lost to this disease and all those left in its wake.

    “We have numerous resources at the ready but have lacked an organized inventory and efficient way to deliver them throughout the state to those in need,” said Lynn Mullowney, executive director of the Montana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

    With that in mind, Gov. Steve Bullock and the Montana Alzheimer’s/Dementia Work Group rolled out on June 20, 2016, the Montana Alzheimer’s State Plan, Montana’s first-ever plan to prepare for and deal with the disease and similar conditions.

    Click here for the full article by Zack Benoit, Helena Independent Record


  5. Signature Collecting Going Well for I-181

    June 3, 2016 by admin

    the Montana Biomedical Research, Veterans Care and Cure Act

    Montanans – wherever you live – read this and go to:

    As of May 31, 2016, 20,994 out of a required 24,175 signatures have been collected in an effort to place citizen’s initiative I-181, otherwise known as the Montana Biomedical Research, Veterans Care and Cure Act, on the November ballot. Signed petition sheets are due by 5:00 p.m. on June 17, 2016. If you are a registered voter in Montana and haven’t had the opportunity to sign the petition, please do so.

    If the initiative is passed, the state will be authorized to issue $20 million in general obligation bonds every year for 10 years to fund Montana-based biomedical research on brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, concussive injuries, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), depression, addictive disorders, and schizophrenia.

    The initiative will create the Montana Biomedical Research Authority, governed by a panel of doctors, scientists, nurses, and patient advocates. This independent panel of leading scientists from out-of-state will review the applications and recommend the best for funding. MRI and other Montana based research facilities, including the University of Montana, Montana State University, Shodair, Benefis, and others, may apply. Based on the quality of our research projects here at MRI, we believe that our applications will be among the best. Annual financial audits from an independent, certified public accounting firm will be made publicly available to ensure financial accountability.

    McLaughlin Research Institute is part of a broad, state-wide, bi-partisan coalition supporting this initiative. Creating a new funding stream will help alleviate the 25 percent reduction in funding at the National Institutes of Health that has disproportionately impacted Montana’s scientists, and will enable Montana’s researchers to compete at the highest level.

    In 2016 it will cost the nation $236 billion to treat patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementias alone. If no breakthrough discoveries are made by 2050, it will cost the nation $1 trillion. The Montana Biomedical Research, Veterans Care and Cure Act will ensure that research by Montanans will contribute to preventing or curing Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.

    Regardless of the result of this initiative, McLaughlin Research Institute is committed to continuing innovative research toward helping Montana seniors, veterans, and kids live healthier and longer lives. For more information, please click on the link to Montanans for Research and Cures, the nonprofit organization behind I-181.

    Click here for the Signature Gathering article

  6. FRONT PAGE NEWS – Great Falls Tribune 4/14/2016

    April 14, 2016 by admin

    MRI supports initiative to create a Montana Biomedical Research Authority. The initiative will bring hope to hundreds of thousands of Montanans and create new jobs.

    Click on link for full article.

    Montanans for Research and Cures

  7. McLaughlin exploring diseases for 60 years – Great Falls Tribune article

    October 20, 2015 by admin

    McLaughlin exploring diseases for 60 years

  8. After 60 years of research, McLaughlin faces a new challenge

    October 12, 2015 by admin

    In honor of MRI’s 60th Anniversary, the Great Falls Tribune recently published an article on the Institute’s past, present and future, including the 60th Anniversary Celebration, which was held at Great Falls College, MSU on August 27th.

    Click on the link below to read the article.

    After 60 years of research, McLaughlin faces a new challenge

  9. Jason DeShaw – Serenity in the Storm – April 16, 2015

    March 24, 2015 by admin

    McLaughlin Research Institute is pleased to host country music artist and mental health advocate Jason DeShaw’s performance in Great Falls. Both MRI and the Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery at Montana State University in Bozeman are working to discover new ways to prevent or treat brain diseases that range from Alzheimer’s and related dementias to depression, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder. We join Jason in his battle to end the stigma associated with mental illness and to encourage those afflicted to start on the path to recovery.


    Poster - Great FallsMental illness and addiction are epidemics in our society. Many people face their struggles in isolation, afraid to speak to others about their experiences. Open and public communication about mental illness and addiction can reduce stigma associated with both illnesses, and can also encourage individuals to seek help.

    Meet Jason DeShaw

    Jason DeShaw is a 33-year old national award-winning mental health speaker and country singer. Jason lives with bipolar disorder and alcoholism; he has worked to develop coping mechanisms that help him meet each day with a spirit of gratitude and a desire to help others find relief from their emotional pain.

    As an accomplished recording artist and musical performer from rural Montana, Jason turned to music as his way to deal with his own mental illness. What has emerged from Jason’s journey is a performance that is nationally acclaimed.

    Finding Serenity in the Storm

    For the past decade Jason has toured across 35 states, Canada, and Europe singing original country music. In 2010, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Since then, he has advocated for mental health and addiction recovery as both a speaker and singer.

    His presentation, Serenity in the Storm, combines his powerful story of recovery with original songs of hope. His audiences range from the lay public attending a performance hall event, to those in a forensic unit of a state psychiatric hospital, to officers at the state Law Enforcement Academy.

    Serenity in the Storm is a powerful presentation in which Jason speaks personally of his lived experiences, interwoven with original music that soundtrack his life’s struggles and triumphs. The event is honest and poignant. It provides audiences with insight into the challenges of living with mental illness and addiction, hope for those who are in despair over their own or a loved one’s struggle, and encouragement to seek help. Jason’s presentation directly addresses suicide, an epidemic in America.

     Jason DeShaw and Serenity in the Storm are Nationally Acclaimed and Locally Celebrated

    Jason received the 2014 Champions Award in Washington D.C. from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), recognizing an individual with a mental illness who reduces stigma by “exhibiting courage, leadership and service on behalf of people with mental illness.”


    “This is a young man who has a powerful message and a truly unique medium to communicate that message with his original music, beautiful voice, and compelling lyrics. His musical story of bipolar disorder, hope and recovery is not easy-listening, it’s profound-listening and courageous-telling.”

    – Dr. Mark Komrad, Johns Hopkins Hospital, NAMI Psychiatrist of the year award


    “Jason has an incredible musical gift that he combines with a powerful message of hope for personal recovery from mental illness and a broad victory over mental illness stigma.”

    -Matt Kuntz, Executive Director, NAMI Montana


    “I wanted to thank you again for the tremendous gift you provided to the community at our event. It was the most impressive thing I’ve ever witnessed in relation to helping people understand the essence and importance of mental disorders.”

    -Dr. Matt Byerly, University of Texas – Southwestern Medical Center



    This spring, Jason will embark on a 10-city tour across Montana reaching out to rural and urban communities on the topics of mental health and addiction recovery. He will also be presenting in schools along the way. Our nation’s youth are of particular concern, as we know that early diagnosis is critical to successful recovery. This tour is presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and The Center for Mental Health Research & Recovery at Montana State University.

    Evening Presentations:

    April 14 – Butte

    April 16 – Great Falls

    April 21 – Havre

    April 23 – Glasgow

    April 28 – Sidney

    April 29 – Miles City

    May 1 – Billings

    May 4 – Helena

    May 6 – Bozeman

    May 7 – Missoula

    Grammy award winner, Kostas Lazarides, is producing Jason’s next album; a recovery album with songs of hope. Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker, Justin Lubke, is currently working on a documentary film about Jason’s life as an advocate for recovery.

    Meeting the Need

    Jason is intimately familiar with the cultural and environmental influences that contribute to America’s high incidence of mental illness, addiction, and suicide. Jason’s presentation is unique in both its persona and message; when he openly acknowledges that he has both mental illness and alcoholism, people listen.

    With Jason’s image and musical talent, Serenity in the Storm appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Serenity in the Storm gives hope to those who need it by reducing stigma and opening the door to understanding.


    Richard Opper – Director, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services: 1.406.444.5622

    Gary Mihelish – Board Member, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1.406.458.9738

    Leo C. Dutton – Sheriff, Lewis & Clark County: 1.406.447.8235




  10. Dr. George Carlson is 2014 Montana BioScience Hall of Fame Inductee

    March 6, 2015 by admin

    Dr. George Carlson, Director and Professor at McLaughlin Research Institute, has been named as the 2014 Montana BioScience Hall of Fame inductee.

    “Dr. Carlson’s underlying research focus has been the application of formal and molecular mouse genetics to advance the understanding of susceptibility to neurodegenerative diseases.”

    For more information on Dr. Carlson’s work, please click on the following link:


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