University of Providence, McLaughlin Research Institute partnering for teaching lab space

The University of Providence has entered into a new partnership with the McLaughlin Research Institute.

Under the terms of the agreement, MRI will provide teaching lab space for new UP health education programs and foster collaborations between faculty from both institutions to develop new grants and initiatives for research and STEM education, according to a UP release. It will also provide efficiencies as each institution seeks to expand and adapt to rapid advances in the field of health and biomedical research.

The length of the current agreement is one year, but will be reviewed annually and may be extended into additional one-year terms if both organizations see fit, according to a release.

“This is a unique opportunity to partner with an internationally prominent biomedical research institution that will provide distinctive internship and research opportunities for our faculty and students,” UP President Anthony Aretz said in a release. “Not only that, there also are promising possibilities to offer programs to students locally and around the state who are attending our public and private primary and secondary schools.”

MRI Director, Michael Kavanaugh, said in a release that the two institutions share a core commitment to advance human health.

“By leveraging resources in biomedical research and clinical health education, we will be able to do more to advance the work needed to find cures for diseases and provide educational and research opportunities for students in Montana,” Kavanaugh said in the release.

Dr. Matthew Redinger, provost/vice president for academic affairs at UP, said he’s excited about the collaborative nature of the agreement and how it will benefit students.

“The faculty and staff of the University of Providence, particularly the Sciences faculty, are very enthusiastic about the partnership between UP and MRI, and see tremendous opportunities for creative synergies in this evolving relationship,” he said in a release. “The chance to have our students working in state-of-the-art labs at MRI as part of their undergraduate education will provide our students with a significant leg-up. Moreover, the opportunity to collaborate on grants with MRI has the promise to significantly broaden the reach of the university as it works to build and maintain transformative student experiences today and, in the years, to come.”

Dr. Lee Hood, a native of Shelby, is a senior vice president and chief science officer with Providence St. Joseph Health, and also serves on McLaughlin’s Scientific Advisory Committee, according to UP’s release.

The McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences was founded in Great Falls in 1954. It is an independent non-profit institute focused on finding cures for diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and other neurodegenerative disorders. MRI’s genetically engineered mouse models for human disease are widely used by academic and pharma partners – nationally and internationally – for developing and testing new therapies.

The University of Providence is a private, Catholic university incorporated under the laws of the State of Montana. The University has been empowered to grant diplomas, confer academic honors, and collegiate degrees since 1932. The University is sponsored by the Sisters of Providence (Providence St. Joseph Health) and operates within the jurisdiction of the Catholic bishop of Great Falls-Billings. Though the university has changed names throughout the decades, its mission is the same today as it was in 1932.