McLaughlin Institute

George Carlson, Ph.D.

Affiliate Professor
Board of Directors
Scientific Advisory Committee Member

Phone: (415) 353-3161
Email George Carlson

george carlson


University of Pennsylvania, A.B., Biochemistry, 1969
Tufts University, Ph.D., Physiology, 1976



1975-1977 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta, Department of Immunology
1977-1980 Assistant Professor of Immunology; University of Alberta
1980-1985 Assistant Professor. The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
1985-1988 Associate Professor.  The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
1988-2008 Adjunct Professor of Microbiology; Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
2008-2017 Adjunct Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
1993-2017 Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences/Pharm. Sci.; University of Montana, Missoula, MT
1988-2017 Director and Professor; McLaughlin Research Institute, Great Falls, MT
Professor, Department of Neurology, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases,
Weill Institute for Neurosciences, UCSF


Research Summary

Beginning with his collaboration with Dr. Stan Prusiner in 1983, much of Dr. Carlson’s work has focused on the application of formal and molecular mouse genetics to advance the understanding of susceptibility to neurodegenerative diseases. He has applied his expertise in mouse genetics to a systems analysis of prion diseases in collaboration with Dr. Lee Hood at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. Dr. Carlson and his colleagues also developed what may be the first genetically tractable in vitro model for prion disease by successfully infecting CNS stem cell containing neurosphere cultures with prions. He is now using transplantation of CNS stem cells as a new approach to dissect pathogenic mechanisms and spread of PrP, tau, and alpha synuclein pathology within the brain. In the IND, Dr. Carlson works toward improving mouse models for prion diseases and noninvasive methods for the early detection of disease to facilitate preclinical trials.


Selected Publications

DeVos SL, Corjuc BT, Commins C, Dujardin S, Bannon RN, Corjuc D, Moore BD, Bennett RE, Jorfi M, Gonzales JA, Dooley PM, Roe AD, Pitstick R, Irimia D, Frosch MP, Carlson GA, Hyman BT. Tau reduction in the presence of amyloid-beta prevents tau pathology and neuronal death in vivo.  Brain. 2018 May 3.

Johnson NR, Condello C, Guan S, Oehler A, Becker J, Gavidia M, Carlson GA, Giles K, Prusiner SB.  Evidence for sortilin modulating regional accumulation of human tau . prions in transgenic mice.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Dec 19;114(51):E11029-E11036

Lopez TP, Giles K, Dugger BN, Oehler A, Condello C, Krejciova Z, Castaneda JA, Carlson GA, Prusiner SB.  A novel vector for transgenesis in the rat CNS.  Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2017 Nov 21;5(1):84.

Carlson GA.  Prion protein and genetic susceptibility to diseases caused by its misfolding. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2017;150:123-145

Bennett RE, DeVos SL, Dujardin S, Corjuc B, Gor R, Gonzalez J, Roe AD, Frosch MP, Pitstick R, Carlson GA, Hyman BT. Enhanced Tau Aggregation in the Presence of Amyloid β.  Am J Pathol. 2017 Jul;187(7):1601-1612

Nobuhara CK, DeVos SL, Commins C, Wegmann S, Moore BD, Roe AD, Costantino I, Frosch MP, Pitstick R, Carlson GA, Hock C, Nitsch RM, Montrasio F, Grimm J, Cheung AE, Dunah AW, Wittmann M, Bussiere T, Weinreb PH, Hyman BT, Takeda S.  Tau antibody targeting pathological species blocks neuronal uptake and interneuron propagation of tau in vitro.  Am J Pathol. 2017 Jun;187(6):1399-1412.

Dugger BN, Perl DP, Carlson GA.  Neurodegenerative disease transmission and transgenesis in mice.  Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2017 Nov 1;9(11).

Chaverra M, George L, Mergy M, Waller H, Kujawa K, Murnion C, Sharples E, Thorne J, Podgajny N, Grindeland A, Ueki Y, Eiger S, Cusick C, Babcock AM, Carlson GA, Lefcort F.  The familial dysautonomia disease gene IKBKAP is required in the developing and adultmouse central nervous system.  Dis Model Mech. 2017 May 1;10(5):605-618.

Jackson RJ, Rudinskiy N, Herrmann AG, Croft S, Kim JM, Petrova V, Ramos-Rodriguez JJ, Pitstick R, Wegmann S, Garcia-Alloza M, Carlson GA, Hyman BT, Spires-Jones TL.  Human tau increases amyloid beta plaque size but not amyloid beta-mediated synapse loss in a novel mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.  Eur J Neurosci. 2016 Dec;44(12):3056-3066.

Young ZT, Rauch JN, Assimon VA, Jinwal UK, Ahn M, Li X, Dunyak BM, Ahmad A, Carlson GA, Srinivasan SR, Zuiderweg ER, Dickey CA, Gestwicki JE.  Stabilizing the Hsp70-tau complex promotes turnover in models of tauopathy.  Cell Chem Biol. 2016 Aug 18;23(8):992-1001.













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