Yihong Yang, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Neuroimaging Research Branch, FMRI Section


251 Bayview Boulevard
Suite 200, Room 7A709
Baltimore, MD 21224



Research Topics

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. Liang X, Zou Q, He Y, Yang Y. Topologically Reorganized Connectivity Architecture of Default-Mode, Executive-Control, and Salience Networks across Working Memory Task Loads. Cereb Cortex. 2016;26(4):1501-1511.

  2. Liang X, He Y, Salmeron BJ, Gu H, Stein EA, Yang Y. Interactions between the salience and default-mode networks are disrupted in cocaine addiction. J Neurosci. 2015;35(21):8081-90.

  3. Hu Y, Salmeron BJ, Gu H, Stein EA, Yang Y. Impaired functional connectivity within and between frontostriatal circuits and its association with compulsive drug use and trait impulsivity in cocaine addiction. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(6):584-92.

  4. Geng X, Hu Y, Gu H, Salmeron BJ, Adinoff B, Stein EA, Yang Y. Salience and default mode network dysregulation in chronic cocaine users predict treatment outcome. Brain. 2017.

  5. Hsu LM, Liang X, Gu H, Brynildsen JK, Stark JA, Ash JA, Lin CP, Lu H, Rapp PR, Stein EA, Yang Y. Constituents and functional implications of the rat default mode network. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113(31):E4541-7.

This page was last updated on August 28th, 2017