Ryan J. McLaughlin, Ph.D.

Ryan J. McLaughlin, Ph.D.

McLaughlin, Ryan
Ryan J. McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Office:  Veterinary and Biomedical Research Building (VBR) room 211
E-Mail:  ryanmclaughlin@vetmed.wsu.edu
Phone: (509) 335-6448

Recruiting Ph.D. students for fall 2017

Current Positions

2014-Present Assistant Professor, IPN, Washington State University, Pullman, WA


2004 B.Sc. Psychology; Mt. Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada
2006 M.A. Psychology; Univeristy of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2012 Ph.D Psychology; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada


The increasingly pervasive impact of stress in our day-to-day lives has served as a catalyst for the growing prevalence of affective disorders in today’s society. Consequently, understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of stress and the mechanisms by which these factors influence the brain and behavior is of the utmost importance. My research to date has focused on elucidating the neuroanatomical framework that mediates stress coping, emotionality, and goal-directed behavior, and how exposure to environmental factors (i.e., chronic stress, drugs of abuse) can produce long-lasting neurobiological adaptations that contribute to disruptions in homeostasis and the emergence of negative affective states. This is the foundation of my research program as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience at Washington State University (WSU).

Honors and Awards

2014 Healthy Minds Canada Prize, Children's Mental Health

Current Funding

WSU Office of Research--In Vivo Characterization of Habenular Endocannabinoid Signaling: Implications for Stress Coping and Cognitive Flexibility, PI


  1. McLaughlin, R.J., Hill, M.N., Gorzalka, B.B. (2014). A critical role for prefrontocortical endocannabinoid signaling in the regulation of stress and emotional behavior. Neurosci Biobehav Rev, 42C, 116-131. PMCID: PMC24582908.
  2. McLaughlin, R.J., Hill, M.N., Dang, S.S., Wainwright, S.R., Galea, L.A., Hillard, C.J., Gorzalka, B.B. (2013). Upregulation of CB1 receptor binding in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex promotes adaptive stress coping following chronic stress exposure. Behav Brain Res, 237, 333-337. PMCID: PMC3501995.
  3. McLaughlin, R.J., Hill, M.N., Bambico, F.R., Stuhr, K., Gobbi, G., Hillard, C.J., Gorzalka, B.B. (2012). Prefrontal cortical anandamide signaling coordinates coping responses to stress through a serotonergic pathway. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol, 22, 664-671. PMCID: PMC3366159.
  4. Hill, M.N., McLaughlin, R.J., Bingham, B., Shrestha, L., Lee, T.T., Gray, J.M., Hillard, C.J.,Gorzalka, B.B., Viau, V. (2010). Endogenous cannabinoids are essential for stress adaptation.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A107, 9406-9411. PMCID: PMC2889099.
  5. Hill, M.N., Carrier, E.J., McLaughlin, R.J., Morrish, A.C., Meier, S.E., Hillard, C.J., Gorzalka, B.B. (2008). Regional alterations in the endocannabinoid system in an animal model of depression: Effects of concurrent antidepressant treatment. J Neurochem, 106, 2322-2336. PMCID: PMC2606621.