Texas Tech Announces New Director for Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute

Though Tang assumed the directorship role of the institute in September, he will begin working full time in January.

Officials at Texas Tech University announced the hiring of Yi-Yuan Tang as director of the newly formed Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute (TTNI) and as a Presidential Endowed Chair in Neuroscience with a faculty appointment as a professor in the Department of Psychology.

Though Tang assumed the directorship role of the institute in September, he will begin working full time in January.

“The TTNI is essential to Texas Tech and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center as research universities,” said Taylor Eighmy, vice president of research. “Dr. Tang will be working to establish a national advisory board, made up of prominent national neuroscientists, including members of the National Academy of Sciences, to help fill two more senior positions in the near future. We look forward to Dr. Tang’s strong leadership and collaborations with all of you to help make TTNI one of the very best neuroscience and neuroimaging research institutes in the U.S.”

Tang is internationally known in the use of functional MRI (fMRI) to examine brain connectivity in cognitive task and found cultures shape math processing in the brain. After developing Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) in the 1990s, his work could provide a means for improving self-regulation and perhaps reducing or preventing various mental disorders.

“I hope to build an interdisciplinary team with faculty from Texas Tech and the Health Sciences Center in functional imaging, cognitive neuroscience, intervention and prevention science, educational neuroscience, neuroeconomics, human development and neuroinformatics,” Tang said. “The institute will help us build on our strengths in neuroscience, psychology, engineering, healthcare and biology, and we will be able to look deeper into issues such as addiction, autism, PTSD, ADHD, anxiety and depression, aging and brain development.”

He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and has published more than 190 internationally/nationally peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,Trends in Cognitive Sciences, and Neuroimage.

Tang worked with NAS member and National Medal of Science recipient Michael Posner at the Institute of Neuroscience and Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon. The two studied mechanisms behind meditation and well-being.

“The Siemens Skyra fMRI we will use is one of Texas Tech’s major investments, and TTNI will play an essential role in the university’s goal to become an AAU-aspiring institution,” Tang said. “TTNI will serve as a trans-disciplinary research, education and collaborative research and development center for not only the university and Lubbock, but West Texas as well.”

Lee Cohen, chairman of the Department of Psychology, said the department is fortunate to have an international expert in the field of neuroimaging join the faculty.

“Dr. Tang’s research area brings a much-needed and highly fundable research program into our department which will help us in two primary ways,” Cohen said. “First, it will allow for expanded collaborations within our department as well as with other departments in Arts & Sciences, other colleges here at Texas Tech and the Health Sciences Center.

“Second, while our department has a history of recruiting very strong doctoral students to our clinical, counseling, and experimental psychology programs, given the popularity of this line of work, we will now be able to attract other exceptional doctoral students into our department that would not have considered applying to our programs in the past.”

The TTNI, which opened in spring 2011, is a multi-user neuroimaging facility that promotes cutting-edge interdisciplinary research among Texas Tech and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center faculty and graduate students. The TTNI provides researchers with brain and body imaging technologies including structural MRI, fMRI, diffusion tensor imaging and techniques, including multimodal data fusion of EEG, fMRI and DTI data.

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