NIIN Faculty

Arthur Toga
Director, Mary and Mark Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute
Director, Laboratory of Neuro Imaging
Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, Radiology, and Engineering
Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience

toga@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Toga's research focuses on neuroimaging, informatics, mapping brain structure and function, and brain atlasing. He has developed multimodal imaging and data aggregation strategies and applied them in a variety of neurological diseases and psychiatric disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, neurovascular diseases, and ocular diseases. His work in informatics includes the development and implementation of some of the largest and most widely used databases and data mining tools linking disparate data from genetics, imaging, clinical, and behavioral studies, and supporting global efforts in Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's Disease, and Parkinson's Disease. His work also involves measurement of the dynamic brain during development and aging, and as a result of insult.
Learn more about Dr. Toga’s research.



Education
Ph.D. in Neuroscience, St. Louis University
M.S. in Neuroscience, St. Louis University
B.S. in Psychology, University of Massachusetts

Experience
2016 - present: Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience
2013 - present: Provost Professor, Departments of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry, and the Behavioral Sciences, Radiology and Engineering at the Keck School of Medicine of USC
2013 - present: Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute
2013 - present: Director, USC Laboratory of Neuro Imaging
2010 - 2012: Associate Vice Provost of Informatics, University of California, Los Angeles
2010 - 2013: Associate Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
1993 - 2010: Professor, Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles
1993 - 2013: Associate Director, Division of Brain Mapping, Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California, Los Angeles
1987 - 2013: Director, Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles

Skills
Neuroscience
Research
Management

Paul Thompson
Associate Director, Mary and Mark Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute
Director, Imaging Genetics Center
Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences, Radiology, Pediatrics and Engineering.

thompson@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Thompson’s primary focus is imaging genetics, the study of how individual genetic differences lead to differences in brain wiring, structure, and intellectual function. He co-founded a worldwide imaging genetics consortium, ENIGMA, which studies 22 brain diseases in 37 countries, and has published the largest-ever neuroimaging studies of schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Other research pursuits include developing new computational algorithms for neuroimaging, dynamic (4D) brain mapping, creation of a probabilistic atlas of the human brain and cortex, and creation of population-based atlases for Alzheimer’s Disease, Schizophrenia, and other disorders.
Learn more about Dr. Thompson’s research.



Education
1998 – Ph.D. in Neuroscience, UCLA
1993 – M.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy, Oxford University
1991 – B.A. in Greek and Latin Languages, Oxford University

Experience
2010-2013: Professor of Neurology, Step 6; Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
2007 -2013: Professor of Neurology, Step 2, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
2003-2007: Associate Professor of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
1998-2003: Assistant Professor of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
1993-1998: Fellow, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
1993-998: Research Grantee, United States Information Agency, Washington, DC
1993-1998: Fulbright Scholar, U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission, London, England

Yonggang Shi
Assistant Professor of Neurology
yonggang.shi@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Shi develops cutting-edge image analysis algorithms, which he applies to the study of human brain structure and function. He seeks to more accurately model the brain’s fibers in diffusion imaging using Fiber Orientation Distribution (FOD) reconstruction. He also studies anatomical shape modeling using the Laplace-Beltrami system, in order to create better brain mapping algorithms for use in researching Alzheimer’s Disease, retinopathies, and other disorders.



Education
2005- PhD. in Electrical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, USA.
1999- M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.
1996- B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.

Experience
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, 2009-2013
PostDoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, 2005-2009

Skills
Level set algorithms, inverse problems and regularization, statistical signal processing.

Jack Van Horn
Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology
Director of Education, USC Mary and Mark Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute

jack.vanhorn@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Van Horn directs the educational efforts of the institute, including the Neuro Imaging and Informatics (NIIN) master’s program and the Training Coordinating Center (TCC), sponsored by the NIH Big Data to Knowledge initiative. He also studies Traumatic Brain Injury, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the anatomy and connectivity of the human claustrum. He has expertise with in vivo imaging techniques such as fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), mathematical and engineering solutions for neuroimaging, and neuroinformatics, including neuroimaging databases and data mining.



Education
2000 – M.S. in Engineering (Electrical and Computer), University of Maryland
1992 – Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, University of London
1989 – B.A. in Psychology, Eastern Washington University

Experience
2006-Present: Assistant Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurology, Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, University of California Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, 635 Charles Young Drive South, Suite 225, Los Angeles, California 90095-7334
2002-2006: Research Associate Professor, Psychology and Brain Science/Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, 6162 Moore Hall, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
2002-2006: Assistant Director, Dartmouth Brain Imaging Center, Dartmouth College, 6162 Moore Hall, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
2001-2006: Operations Director, The fMRI Data Center, 6162 Moore Hall, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
2000-2002: Research Assistant Professor, Psychology and Brain Science/Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, 6162 Moore Hall, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
1997-Present: Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University College London, University of London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT England
1997-2000: NIH Staff Fellow, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health, 10 Center Drive 4C-104, Bethesda, MD 20892
1997-2000: Guest Researcher, Brain Imaging Center, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus, Baltimore, MD

Skills
Linux/UNIX (e.g. Sun OS/Solaris); ANSI-C; HTML/PHP; Matlab; MS Visual Studio.

Hong-Wei Dong
Professor of Neurology Director,
Center for Integrative Connectomics

hongwei.dong@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Dong’s primary focus is the Mouse Connectome Project (MCP), which seeks to reconstruct a 3D computer graphic mouse brain atlas and neuroinformatics-based database. He also uses a multimodal approach to distinguish and classify various neuronal cell types in the mammalian brain. A separate focus involves the understanding of neural circuits and molecular mechanisms that regulate the neuroendocrine responses underlying psychological stress.



Education
1999 - Ph.D., the Fourth Military Medical University (Xi’an, China) and University of Southern California, (Neuroscience)
1996 - M.S., the Fourth Military Medical University (Xi’an, China), (Neuroscience)
1993 - M.D., the Fourth Military Medical University (Xi’an, China), (Medicine)

Experience
2006 - Present Assistant Professor, Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine
2004 - 2006 Senior Analyst Neuroanatomy, Allen Institute for Brain Science (AIBS), Seattle
2002 - 2003 Research Assistant Professor, Neuroscience Program & Department of Biology, University of Southern California (USC)
1997 - 2002 Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Associate, Laboratory of L.W. Swanson, Neuroscience Program, University of Southern California

Skills
Small animal stereotaxic brain surgery
Neural tract tracing
Neuroanatomy
Brain atlas development

Neda Jahanshad
Assistant Professor of Neurology
neda.jahanshad@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Jahanshad is part of INI’s Imaging Genetics Center, where she researches genetic influences on brain structure using high-resolution structural and diffusion imaging. She also develops protocols for large-scale meta-analyses of brain structure and connectivity for the ENIGMA consortium. Her work with diffusion imaging involves monitoring the effects of infectious diseases, such as HIV, on the brain.



Education
2012 – Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, UCLA
2006 – B.A. in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering

Kristi Clark
Assistant Professor of Neurology
kclark@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Clark runs LONI’s Connectivity and Network Development Group (CANDL), which develops and applies cutting-edge structural and functional models of how the networks of the human brain develop and respond to experience, with an emphasis on the hippocampus. One focus is methods development, including merging in vivo imaging data with ex vivo MRI and microscopy. Dr. Clark studies normal brain development and developmental disorders such as dyslexia.



Education
2007 - Ph.D. in Neuroscience, UCLA
2000 - B.A. in Chemistry (Biochemistry concentration) and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis

Houri Hintiryan
Assistant Professor of Research
Houri.Hintiryan@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Hintiryan has extensive experience examining the brain’s neural networks using classic and viral tract tracers. She uses large-scale connectomics data to investigate information processing within specific neural circuits. Her current research focus involves identifying aberrant connections in mouse models of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease via the Mouse Connectome Project.



Education
2009 – Ph.D. in Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, USC
2003 – M.A. in Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, USC
2000 – B.A. in Psychology and English, USC

Meredith Braskie
Assistant Professor of Research
Meredith.Braskie@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Braskie’s research evaluates how genetic and environmental risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) relate to brain structure, function, and connectivity throughout adulthood, with an emphasis on metabolic risk. She primarily studies cognitively intact adults and those with early mild cognitive impairment, studying how AD risk-related biological mechanisms and signaling pathways are associated with brain changes, using relevant blood and cerebrospinal fluid measures, as well as multimodal imaging (structural and functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, and PET).



Education
2006 - Ph.D. in Neuroscience, UCLA
1994 - B.A. in Business Administration and Accounting, College of William and Mary

Experience
2013- present: Assistant Professor of Research USC
2011 - 2013: Assistant Researcher UCLA
2009 - 2011: Post doctoral fellow UCLA
2006 - 2009: Post doctoral fellow UC Berkeley
2002-2006: Graduate student researcher UCLA
2003-Teaching assistant to Dr. Arnold Scheibel UCLA

Judy Pa
Assistant Professor of Neurology
jpa@ini.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Pa researches early brain dysfunction in older adults and individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease with the goal of identifying biomarkers and designing effective interventions to slow or halt the onset of the disease. For example, she is working on several pilot projects combining physical and cognitive interventions in novel ways. She also analyzes neural alterations in brain function and network connectivity in individuals with mild cognitive impairment.



Education
2009 - Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neurodegenerative diseases, UC San Francisco
2007 - PhD in Psychology (specialty: Cognitive Neuroscience), UC Irvine
2002 – B.A. in Psychology, UC Irvine

Experience
Neuroimaging, functional MRI, aging, dementia, executive function, memory

Dominique Duncan
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Dominique.Duncan@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Duncan’s expertise lies in the development of analytical tools to extract information from biomedical data. Both her Ph.D. and postdoctoral research used EEG data to isolate patterns indicating the onset of epileptic seizures. She has worked on developing algorithms, such as Unsupervised Diffusion Component Analysis, to identify early signs of Alzheimer's disease in patients using structural MRI data. Her recent projects include identifying biomarkers to predict epilepsy following a traumatic brain injury and using Virtual Reality to improve segmentation, a manual error-correction process required to analyze brain imaging data.



Education
2013 - PhD in Electrical Engineering, Yale University
2007 - BS in Mathematics and Polish Literature, University of Chicago

Lirong Yan
Assistant Professor of Research
lirong.yan@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
MRI sequence development including novel arterial spin labeling (ASL) technical development, and non-contrast 4-D dyanmic MR Angiography


functional MRI data acquistion and post processing



Education
2010 – Ph.D. in Biophysics, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2005 – B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Experience
2013-2016: Assistant Researcher, Department of Neurology, UCLA
2010-2013:Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Neurology, UCLA

Kay Jann
Assistant Professor of Research
kay.jann@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Jann develops analytical tools and clinical translations of functional MRI technology. He studies the relationship between functional connectivity, complexity and metabolism of brain networks. His multimodal approach involves a combination of fMRI, connectivity measures, cerebral blood flow, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) excitation and inhibition, and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). He is also exploring the use of neuromodulation, such as TMS, in the treatment of various neuropsychiatric disorders.



Education
2009 – Ph.D. in the Faculties of Medicine, Science and Veterinary Medicine, University of Bern (Switzerland)
2004 – Dipl. Sc. Nat. in Biology (Neuroscience focus), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Experience
2016 -Assistant Project Scientist at the Laboratory of Functional MRI Technology, Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, UCLA
2013-2016:Postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Functional MRI Technology, Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, UCLA
2010-2013:Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Psychiatric Neurophysiology, University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern, Switzerland
2009-2010:Research assistant at the Department of Psychiatric Neurophysiology, University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern, Switzerland

Danny JJ Wang
Professor of Neurology
Director of Imaging Technology Innovation

jj.wang@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Wang runs the Laboratory of Functional MRI Technology (LOFT), where he develops techniques and clinical translations of arterial spin labeling (ASL) and performs cross-scale and modality complexity analysis of resting state fMRI and electrophysiology data. He also researches electric current mapping of transcranial direct current stimulation (tCDS). Another current project involves the development of low-dose CT perfusion technology, which may help significantly reduce radiation exposure without compromising image quality.



Education
2010 – M.S.C.E. (Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology), University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
1998 – Ph.D. in Biophysics, University of Science and Technology of China
1993 – B.S. in Biophysics, Fu Dan University

Experience
2003-2010:Research Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
2006-2010:Research Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
2011-2013:Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
2010-2015: Associate Professor-in-Residence, Department of Neurology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
2011-2015 Associate Professor-in-Residence (secondary), Department of Radiology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
2015-2016 Professor-in-Residence, Department of Neurology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
2015-2016 Professor-in-Residence (secondary), Department of Radiology, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles,
2012-present:Executive Director, UCLA-Beijing Joint Center for Advanced Brain Imaging

Hosung Kim
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Hosung.Kim@loni.usc.edu
 
Research Focus
Dr. Kim’s research spans an interdisciplinary cross-section of medical image processing, machine learning and neuroscience, covering both clinical neurology and neuropsychiatry. He studies multicontrast image registration and segmentation as well as surface modeling of both cortical and subcortical structures. One of his current projects involves the prediction of neurodevelopmental outcomes for preterm babies. He is also developing an online neuroimaging data quality control (image QC) system.



Education
2016- Postdoctoral Fellowship in Imaging of Neurodevelopment, UC San Francisco
2012 -PhD in Biomedical Engineering (specialty: brain image analysis), McGill University / Montreal Neurological Institute experience neuroimaging, image processing, machine learning, clinical neuroimaging (preterm newborns, sleep disorders, epilepsy)
2011 – Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University
2003 – M.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Hanyang University (Seoul, Korea)
2000 – B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Hanyang Unversity (Seoul, Korea)

NIIN Staff

Grace Liang-Franco
Executive Administrator
grace@ini.usc.edu
loni.usc.edu
 
Education
MBA, Pepperdine University
BA, UCLA

Henrietta Movsessian
 
Sandra Phung
 
Michelle Zhang
 

The USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute houses four centers, each with its own specific research focus. View each center’s website to learn more.

Website: http://loni.usc.edu/

The Laboratory of Neuro Imaging encompasses a diverse team of neuroscientists, engineers, and data scientists, all working toward a common goal: mapping the brain. LONI researchers study diseases, including neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders, and seek to understand changes in the brain across the lifespan.

Originally focused on linking brain structure and function using sophisticated connectivity maps, LONI has expanded its work to include the application of 3D visualization, emerging mathematics, and large-scale computational architecture to biomedical datasets.

LONI is a leader in the study of healthy neurological function, as well as brain development and aging, including disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, bipolar disorder, HIV, depression and stroke.


Website: http://igc.ini.usc.edu/

The Imaging Genetics Center is dedicated to discovering how individual genetic differences influence brain wiring, structure, and function. A research team of neuroscientists, engineers, medical doctors and computer scientists have joined forces to work toward this goal.

Focusing on how genes determine brain structure and function, the IGC actively develops technical and mathematical tools to study how the brain changes in disorders and diseases such as autism, HIV, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury. The IGC uses Diffusion Weighted Imaging, key for mapping connectivity within the brain, and has developed a novel method of labeling white matter brain tissue, which greatly increases the speed of data analysis.


Website: http://cia.ini.usc.edu

Launched in 2016, the Center for Image Acquisition (CIA) employs cutting-edge scientific instruments and analytical approaches to optimize images of the living human brain. The powerful tools and techniques developed by the CIA team enable breakthroughs in both the lab and clinic, and are ultimately perfected and shared with the larger scientific community.

The CIA houses two of the world’s most advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, along with dedicated supercomputing systems, cutting-edge analysis techniques, and unrivaled professional expertise. The Siemens Prisma 3T MRI scanner boasts a high-end gradient system ideal for clinical imaging studies; the INI’s Siemens Terra 7T MRI scanner was the first of its kind installed in North America, and contains a powerful magnet that enables researchers to image the brain in ultra-high resolution.


Website: http://cic.ini.usc.edu

Launched in 2017, the Center for Integrative Connectomics houses a cross-disciplinary research group working to develop a detailed connectivity map of the mammalian brain and to understand the neural networks underlying health and disease.

The CIC is home to the revolutionary Mouse Connectome Project, which has traced more than 2,000 pathways within the mouse brain. Other projects include classification of neuronal cell types, as well as the exploration of differences in connectivity underlying neurological disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases.