George Carlson, PhD
Visiting Professor, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Dr. George Carlson is a Visiting Professor in the IND and Director and Professor at the McLaughlin Research Institute in Great Falls, Montana. He received his AB in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969 and his PhD in Physiology from Tufts University in 1976. Beginning with his long-standing collaboration with Dr. Prusiner, 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 disease 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 tau pathology within the brain. In the IND, Dr. Carlson will work towards developing improved models for prion diseases and non-invasive methods for the early detection of neuron loss to facilitate preclinical trials.