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Senior Investigator

Yihong Yang, Ph.D.

Section of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy


Room 7A709
251 Bayview Blvd Suite 200
MD 21224
Office: 443-740-2648
Lab: 443-740-2648
Fax: 443-740-2734
yihongyang@intra.nida.nih.gov

Yihong Yang, Ph.D., Chief, Section of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy, NIDA.


Post-doctoral Training: Functional MRI, Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health


Ph.D: Biophysics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana; Advisor: Dr. Paul C. Lauterbur



In Dr. Yang’s lab the research goal is to develop advanced functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging/spectroscopy techniques and to evaluate their potentials in neuropharmacological applications.

The lab has been working on the development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques to measure evoked and resting activity of the brain. In evoked-fMRI, brain activation is detected using multiple parameters that provide complementary and quantitative measurements. In resting state fMRI, new acquisition and analysis strategies are developed to assess alterations of brain circuitries in patients. In particular, they are evaluating these fMRI techniques in drug addiction applications.

The lab is investigating structural MRI techniques to assess tissue integrity related to brain dysfunctions. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and beyond DTI techniques are developed to examine microstructural changes in white and gray matter and fiber bundles are delineated by tractography techniques. Novel image registration methods based on implicit reference are developed for more accurate group analysis. They are also developing voxel-wise methods to evaluate structural changes in the brain and evaluating these methods in substance abuse populations.

The lab has been developing magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) techniques to measure metabolite and neurotransmitter concentrations in the brain. Specifically, they are focusing on the detection and quantification of glutamate, glutamine, and GABA levels. New methods are developed to measure these compounds reliably and evaluate their applications in neuropharmacological studies. They are also investigating underlying neuronal mechanisms of resting-state fMRI signals using animal models. Electrophysiological and fMRI signals from the rat brain are integrated to reveal the neuronal origins of the resting fMRI signal.

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  • 1) C. Lerman, H. Gu, K. Ruparel, J. Loughead, Y. Yang, E.A. Stein (2018)
  • Large Scale Brain Network Coupling Predicts Acute Nicotine Abstinence Effects on Craving and Cognitive Functions
  • JAMA Psychiatry (in press)
  • 2) S. Yang, A.M. Belcher, S. Chefer, D.B. Vaupel, C.W. Schindler, E.A. Stein, Y. Yang (2018)
  • Withdrawal from long-term methamphetamine self-administration 'normalizes' neurometabolites in rhesus monkeys: A 1H MR spectroscopy study
  • Addiction Biology (in press)
  • 3) Belcher AM, Yen CC, Notardonato L, Ross TJ, Volkow ND, Yang Y, Stein EA, Silva AC, Tomasi D (2016)
  • Functional Connectivity Hubs and Networks in the Awake Marmoset Brain
  • Front Integr Neurosci, 10, 9
  • 4) X. Miao, H. Gu, L. Yan, H. Lu, D. J.-J. Wang, X. J. Zhou, Y. Zhuo, Y. Yang (2014)
  • Detecting Resting-State Brain Activity by Spontaneous Cerebral Blood Volume Fluctuations using Whole Brain Vascular Space Occupancy Imaging
  • NeuroImage, 84, 575-584
  • 5) H.S. Liu, S. Chefer, H. Lu, K. Guillem, W. Rea, P. Kurup, Y. Yang, L. Peoples, E. A. Stein (2013)
  • Dorsolateral caudate nucleus differentiates cocaine from natural reward-associated contextual cues
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110:4093-8
  • 6) A. Belcher, C. Yen, H. Stepp, H. Gu, H. Lu, Y. Yang, A. Silva, E. Stein. J (2013)
  • Large scale brain networks in the awake, truly resting marmoset monkey
  • Neuroscience, 33: 16796-16804
  • 7) X. Liang, Q. Zou, Y. He, Y. Yang (2013)
  • Coupling of functional connectivity and regional cerebral blood flow reveals a physiological basis for network hubs of the human brai
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110, 1929-34
  • 8) Q. Zou, T. J. Ross, H. Gu, X. Geng, X.-N. Zuo, L. E. Hong, J.-H. Gao, E. A. Stein, Y.-F. Zang, Y. Yang (2013)
  • Intrinsic resting-state activity predicts working memory brain activation and behavioral performance
  • 34: 3204-3215
  • 9) Y. Hu, X. Chen, H. Gu, Y. Yang (2013)
  • Resting-state glutamate and GABA concentrations predict task-induced deactivation in the default mode network
  • J. Neuroscience , 33, 18566-18573
  • 10) C. Wu, H. Gu, Q. Zou, H. Lu, E. A. Stein, Y. Yang (2012)
  • TE-dependent spatial and spectral specificity of functional connectivity
  • NeuroImage, 59: 3075-3084
  • 11) X. Geng, T. J. Ross, H. Gu, W. Shin, W. Zhan, Y.-P. Chao, C.-P. Lin, N. Schuff, Y. Yang (2011)
  • Diffeomorphic Image Registration of Diffusion MRI Using Spherical Harmonics
  • IEEE Trans Med Image, 30: 747-758
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