People at the NRB
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Thomas J. Ross, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist|

Tom received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT, like MIT only in the Midwest, without the reputation, facility or quality of students – wait, it is nothing like MIT). He went on to get his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine (Go Anteaters!), in Physics – specifically experimental plasma physics (plasma = ionized gas like the sun, not plasma = juicy parts of blood). How does plasma physics relate to fMRI? Good question! Answer: It doesn’t. So, how did he get into fMRI? Another good question (damn you are smart)! It was through dumb luck and excellent timing that he had contacted Elliot Stein at a time when he needed a job and Elliot needed someone to do a job. This was in 1997 – early days for fMRI and a time when pretty much everybody was coming into the field from somewhere else. So, his signal processing/data analysis skills translated pretty nicely, and the rest he learned/made up along the way. In 2002, Dr. Stein moved to NIDA and Tom joined him there as a Staff Scientist.


  • Involved in pretty much all of the branch research at some level.
  • Advanced fMRI analysis techniques such as independent components analysis, structural equation modeling and machine learning.
  • Resting-state fMRI.
  • The use of and the limits of fMRI as a neurofeedback tool.


  • E. J. Rose, T. J. Ross, P. K. Kurup, and E. A. Stein. Nicotine modulation of information processing is not limited to input (attention) but extends to output (intention). Psychopharmacology (Berl) 209 (4):291-302, 2010.
  • Shaolin Yang, Betty Jo Salmeron, Thomas J. Ross, Zheng Xiong Xi, Elliot A. Stein, and Yihong Yang. Lower glutamate levels in rostral anterior cingulate of chronic cocaine users -- A 1H-MRS study using TE-averaged PRESS at 3áT with an optimized quantification strategy. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 174 (3):171-176, 2009.
  • B. Hahn, T. J. Ross, F. A. Wolkenberg, D. M. Shakleya, M. A. Huestis, and E. A. Stein. Performance effects of nicotine during selective attention, divided attention, and simple stimulus detection: an fMRI study. Cereb.Cortex 19 (9):1990-2000, 2009.
  • Xiujuan Geng, Gary E. Christensen, Hong Gu, Thomas J. Ross, and Yihong Yang. Implicit reference-based group-wise image registration and its application to structural and functional MRI. NeuroImage 47 (4):1341-1351, 2009.
  • J. A. Waltz, J. B. Schweitzer, J. M. Gold, P. K. Kurup, T. J. Ross, B. J. Salmeron, E. J. Rose, S. M. McClure, and E. A. Stein. Patients with schizophrenia have a reduced neural response to both unpredictable and predictable primary reinforcers. Neuropsychopharmacology 34 (6):1567-1577, 2009.
  • L. E. Hong, H. Gu, Y. Yang, T. J. Ross, B. J. Salmeron, B. Buchholz, G. K. Thaker, and E. A. Stein. Association of nicotine addiction and nicotine's actions with separate cingulate cortex functional circuits. Arch.Gen.Psychiatry 66 (4):431-441, 2009.
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