Montana State University

Psychiatrist selected to head MSU Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery

August 3, 2015 -- Anne Cantrell, MSU News Service

Matthew Byerly, M.D., a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center whose research focuses on improving treatments for individuals living with mental illness, has been selected to lead MSU’s Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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A psychiatrist and scientist from one of the country’s leading medical centers has been named the new director of Montana State University’s Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery, or CMHRR.

Matthew Byerly, M.D., a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center whose research focuses on improving treatments for individuals living with mental illness, was selected for the position after a national search. He succeeds Interim Director Frances Lefcort, professor and head of the MSU Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience. Byerly will begin at MSU on Aug. 15.

“I am honored to be named as the director of the CMHRR, and am particularly appreciative of the tremendous efforts made by Dr. Lefcort, Dr. (Renee) Reijo Pera, Mr. Matt Kuntz and Mr. Gary Popiel towards establishing and developing the center,” Byerly said. “The CMHRR will continue to focus on principles of interdisciplinary and stakeholder collaboration, as well as scientific rigor, to advance discoveries and speed their use in clinical and community practice, with the goal of improving the mental health of Montanans.”

Kuntz is the executive director for National Alliance on Mental Illness for Montana, and Popiel is the president.

Byerly’s research interests have included clinical effectiveness research, a type of research that studies the impact, including cost-effectiveness, of different mental health care approaches in real-life clinical settings, as well as clinical and translational studies of interventions for people who have fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome, two of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorders. In addition to his research, Byerly has served on multiple expert panels related to medication treatments and as a member of the Food and Drug Administration Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee.

Byerly’s M.D. is from the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He completed a residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in schizophrenia research at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Byerly will be leading our efforts to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness for all of Montana,” Lefcort said. “Montana has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, and Dr. Byerly is especially interested in developing and implementing strategies to address this problem. He brings tremendous clinical research expertise to MSU and to the state and really puts our center on the map as an innovative program that aims to combine excellence in research in both the basic neuroscience and clinical and translational research underlying serious mental illness.”

The Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery is an interdisciplinary center that is designed to use research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness through collaborative efforts between neuroscientists, clinicians, engineers, people affected by mental illness and their families. The center was established in the fall of 2014 and draws on MSU’s research strength in neuroscience, electrical engineering, computer science, biochemistry, psychology and nursing, among other disciplines.

Contact: Frances Lefcort, (406) 994-5656 or lefcort@montana.edu