Yihong Yang, Ph.D., Senior Investigator - Principal Investigators - The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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Yihong Yang, Ph.D., Senior Investigator


251 Bayview Blvd.
Suite 200, Room 7A709
Baltimore, MD 21224

Voice: (443) 740-2648

Fax: (443) 740-2734


Yihong Yang, Ph.D., Senior Investigator

Chief, FMRI Section on-site page link

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


Our research goal is to develop advanced functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging/spectroscopy techniques and to evaluate their potentials in neuropharmacological applications.

We have 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, we are evaluating these fMRI techniques in drug addiction applications.

We are 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. We are also developing voxel-wise methods to evaluate structural changes in the brain and evaluating these methods in substance abuse populations.

We have been developing magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) techniques to measure metabolite and neurotransmitter concentrations in the brain. Specifically, we 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.

We 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.

Selected Publications:

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

About Dr. Yang's...

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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