Montana State University

Department of Cell Biology
& Neuroscience

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173148
Bozeman, MT 59717-3148

Tel: (406) 994-5120
Fax: (406) 994-7077
Location: 510 Leon Johnson Hall

Department Chair

Frances Lefcort, Ph.D.

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Faculty, Affiliates & Staff

The scientific research interests in our department cover a wide range of topics, with special emphasis on cell biology, neurobiology, developmental biology, physiology, anatomy, biophysics, and neuroinformatics. Together, faculty and students in our department study biological process which span the continuum from single cells to the entire human body.


  Roger Bradley photo

Roger Bradley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
522 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-7680

Developmental Neuroscience

Our lab studies the roles of cell-cell adhesion molecules in the formation of the vertebrate nervous system. Read more

  Cassie Cusick photo

Cassie Cusick, Ph.D.

WWAMI medical education program
508 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-3993



  Steven Eiger photo

Steven Eiger, Ph.D.

WWAMI medical education program
507 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-5612

Read more

  Lynn George photo

Lynn George, Ph.D.

Research Professor
(406) 223-7638



  Charles Gray photo

Charles Gray, Ph.D.

08 Lewis Hall
(406) 994-7338

Neurophysiology of Visual Perception and Cognition

In my laboratory, we study the neural processes that underlie visual perception and cognition. Read more

  Thom Hughes photo

Thom Hughes, Ph.D.

Office: 227 Cooley Lab
Lab: 129 Cooley Lab
(406) 219 1016


Our laboratory creates new, genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors to solve fundamental problems in neuroscience. Read more

Molecular Motion Lab

  Susy Kohout photo

Susy Kohout, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Office: 01 Lewis Hall
(406) 994-7334
Lab: 325 Cooley Lab

Voltage Dependent Signaling

Signaling cascades are the basis for cell life. From single cells to multi-cell organisms, cells must respond to and communicate with their local environment. Read more
  Frances Lefcort photo

Frances Lefcort, Ph.D.

Department Head
WWAMI Medical Education Program
Office: 225 Cooley Lab
Lab: 228 Cooley Lab
(406) 994-5656

Molecular and Cellular Neural Development

Our lab is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive the formation of the nervous system and how those steps can go awry to cause neural developmental disorders. Read more

  Christa Merzdorf photo

Christa Merzdorf, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
527 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-5645

Developmental Neurobiology

We study molecular mechanisms that underlie patterning of the vertebrate nervous system during embryonic development. Read more

Molecular BioSciences website

  John Miller photo

John P. Miller, Ph.D.

2C Lewis Hall
(406) 994-7332

Director, Center for Computational Biology
Letters and Science Distinguished Professor


My recent experimental and theoretical studies have been focused on an analysis of the "codes" with which nerve cells in sensory systems represent information about external stimuli, the neural mechanisms through which that information is processed within subsequent stages of the nervous system, and the extent to which the nervous system may have become optimized through evolution. Read more

  Behrad Noudoost photo

Behrad Noudoost, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Office: 19A Lewis Hall
(406) 994-8494

Top-Down Control of Visual Signals: Neuronal Basis and Neuromodulators

A major challenge in studying the cognitive functions of the nervous system is to understand the neuronal basis and the circuitry underlying these complex operations. Deficits in many cognitive functions such as attention and working memory are observed in mental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and schizophrenia. Our research is focused precisely on understanding the neural circuits and biological mechanisms that are necessary and sufficient to drive fundamental cognitive functions.

MSU Attention Lab

  Dana Rashid photo

Dana Rashid, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Professor
520 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-6525



  Rodrigo Salazar photo

Rodrigo F. Salazar, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Professor
Lewis Hall 1
(406) 994-7190
Fax: (406) 994-7438

Working memory and the fronto-parietal network

Understanding the neuronal dynamics underlying cognition has been my focus in neuroscience.

Read more

  Steve Stowers photo

Steve Stowers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
516 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-5672

Genetic analysis of neural circuits

My lab studies somatosensory neural circuit organization and information processing in Drosophila using optogenetic approaches. Read more

Gateway MultiSite Vector Database

Adjunct Instructors

  Sam McColley photo

Sam McColley, M.S.

Adjunct Instructor
240 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-2953


  Marc Mergy photo

Marc Mergy, Ph.D.

Adjunct Instructor
Leon Johnson Hall


  Scott Taylor photo

Scott Taylor, M.S.

Adjunct Instructor
509 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-2953


Research Associates

  Lauren Barnett photo

Lauren Barnett

Research Associate
227 Cooley Lab


  Martha Chaverra photo

Martha Chaverra, M.S.

Research Associate
228 Cooley Lab
(406) 994-7680




Michael Babcock, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychology, Montana State University
Affiliate Professor, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Montana State University

John R. Bermingham, Jr., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, McLaughlin Research Institute
Adjunct Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Montana State University

Deborah Cabin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, McLaughlin Research Institute
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Montana State University

George Carlson, Ph.D.

Director and Professor, McLaughlin Research Institute
Adjunct Professor, Cell Biology and Neuroscience. Montana State University

Teresa M. Gunn, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, McLaughlin Research Institute
Adjunct Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Montana State University

John A. Mercer, Ph.D.

Professor, McLaughlin Research Institute
Adjunct Professor, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Montana State University


Jim McMillan, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

  Charles Paden photo

Charles Paden, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus
Neural plasticity and repair; Neuroendocrinology

My principle research area is the neural response to brain injury, with an emphasis on axonal sprouting in neuroendocrine systems. Read more




  Dwight Phillips photo

Dwight Phillips, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus
Anatomy and Developmental Neuropathology


Dr. Phillips retired in July 2004 and continues to work part-time teaching in some courses. Before retirement, his research focused on studies of the effects of alcohol on brain development in an animal model of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome -- with particular emphasis on myelin and glial cell development. Read more


  Cori Huttinga photo

Cori Huttinga

Accounting Analyst
513 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-5097



  Lisa Musgrave photo

Lisa Musgrave

Undergraduate Advising Coordinator
510 Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-5120



  Tom Woods photo

Tom Woods

Lab Coordinator
106A Leon Johnson Hall
(406) 994-5777