Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Hengyi Rao, PhD

Hengyi Rao, PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging in Neurology and Psychiatry, 
Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Center for Functional Neuroimaging, 
Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Hengyi Rao, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging in Neurology and Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rao received his degree in Biophysics and Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Science and Technology of China. Dr. Rao was trained at Beijing Laboratory of Cognitive Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and has been worked as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University in China until 2004 before moving to the United States. Dr. Rao was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Functional Neuroimaging at University of Pennsylvania from 2004-2007.

It is the prospects of functional brain research to understand the nature of humanity and improve human life and health that attract Dr. Rao to select his career. Dr. Rao's research investigates the neurobiological basis underlying human cognition, emotion and behavior. He is skilled in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and cognitive neuroscience, and is interested in integrating multiple neuroimaging and electrophysiological research techniques (primarily ASL perfusion fMRI and BOLD fMRI, also including EEG/ERP, PET, tDCS, and TMS) with behavioral paradigms and genomic methods to understand human brain function. He has recently conducted and published several studies by the combination of fMRI and EEG/ERP, fMRI and structural MRI, fMRI and genotype, concurrent perfusion and BOLD fMRI, concurrent fMRI and PET. Dr. Rao is applying his expert in functional brain imaging for sleep research. Specifically, he is interested in the neurobiological basis of sleep, the effect of sleep on learning and memory, and the effect of sleep deprivation on human cognition, emotion and behavior. He is particularly interested in the neural bases underlying inter-individual differences in human risk-taking and decision-making and the vulnerability to addiction, mood disorders, sleep loss, and fatigue.

Dr. Rao's research has been supported by NHLBI and NIDA. He is currently the Principal Investigator of a 5-year NHLBI grant investigating the neural basis for differential vulnerability to sleep deprivation and a one-year NIDA grant investigating the impaired risk taking behavior and neural activity in cocaine dependent patients. He is also the Principal Investigator of a  Translational Biomedical Imaging Center (TBIC) collaborative pilot grant to investigate human brain function changes across sleep/wake cycle with concurrent EEG and fMRI. Dr. Rao is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the Society for Neuroscience (SFN), the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM), and the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS). He serves as the reviewer for many journals in neuroimaging, neurology, and psychiatry, and for funding applications to NIH and Chinese National Science Foundation.

Research Interests

Functional brain imaging, ASL perfusion fMRI, sleep deprivation, sleep function, default brain function, risk-taking and decision-making, brain development, individual differences, imaging genomics, mood disorders, aging.


Selected Bibliography

Hu S, Rao H, Mancuso L, Zhu S, Detre JA, Wolk DA. 2011. Effects of aging on temporal lobe blood flow with structural correction in healthy older adults. J Cognitive Science. In press.

Gillihan SJ, Detre JA, Farah MJ, Rao H. 2011. Neural Substrates Associated With Weather-Induced Mood Variability: An Exploratory Study Using ASL Perfusion fMRI. J Cognitive Science. In press.

Gillihan SJ, Rao H, Brennan L,Wang DJ, Detre JA, Breland J, Sankoorikal GM, Brodkin ES, Farah MJ. 2011. Serotonin transporter genotype modulates the association between depressive symptoms and amygdala activity among psychiatrically health adults. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 193(3): 161-167.

Wang J, Rao H, Korczykowski M, Wintering N, Pluta J, Khalsa DS, Newberg, A. 2011. Cerebral blood flow changes associated with different meditation practices and perceived depth of meditation. Psychiatry Research. 191(1): 60-67.

Rao H, Mamikonyan E, Detre JA, Siderowf A, Stern M, Weintraub D. 2010. Decreased ventral striatal activity with impulse control disorders in Parkinson's disease. Movement Disorders. 25(11), 1660-1669.

Gillihan SJ, Rao H, Wang J, Detre JA, Breland J, Sankoorikal GM, Kaercher KA, Dow HC, Brodkin ES, Farah MJ. 2010. Serotonin Transporter Genotype Modulates Amygdala Activity During Mood Regulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 5(1): 1-10.

Lim J, Wu WC, Wang J, Detre JA, Dinges DF, Rao H. 2010. Imaging Brain Fatigue from Sustained Mental Workload: An ASL Perfusion Study of the Time-On-Task Effect. NeuroImage. 49: 3426-3435.

Rao H, Betancourt L, Avants BB, Korczykowski M, Savage JH, Giannetta J, Brodsky NL, Malmud EK, Wang J, Gee J, Hurt H, Detre JA, Farah MJ. 2010. Early Parental Care Is Important for Hippocampal Maturation: Evidence from Brain Morphology in Humans. NeuroImage. 49(1):1144-1150.

Goel N, Rao H, Durmer JS, Dinges DF. 2009. Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation. Seminars in Neurology. 29(4): 320-339.

Detre JA, Wang J, Wang Z, Rao H. 2009. ASL Perfusion MRI in Basic and Clinical Neuroscience. Current Opinion in Neurology. 22(4): 348-355.

Rao H, Korczykowski M, Pluta J, Hoang A, Detre JA. 2008. Neural Correlates of Voluntary and Involuntary Risk Taking in the Human Brain: An fMRI Study of the Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART). NeuroImage. 42(2): 902-910.

Rao H, Di X, Chan RC, Ding Y, Ye B, Gao D. 2008. A Regulation Role of the Prefrontal Cortex in the Fist-Edge-Palm Task: Evidence from Functional Connectivity Analysis. NeuroImage. 41(4): 1345-1351.

Wang Z, Aguirre GK, Rao H, Wang J, Fernandez-Seara MA, Childress AR, Detre JA. 2008. Empirical optimization of ASL data analysis using an ASL data processing toolbox: ASLtbx. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 26(2): 261-269.

Rao H, Wang J, Korczykowski M, Giannetta J, Shera D, Avants B, Gee J, Detre JA, Hurt H. 2007. Altered Resting Cerebral Blood Flow in Adolescents with In-utero Cocaine Exposure Revealed by Perfusion Functional MRI. Pediatrics. 120(5): e1245-1254.

Rao H, Gillihan SJ, Wang J, Korczykowski M, Sankoorikal GM, Kaercher KA, Brodkin ES, Detre JA, Farah MJ. 2007. Genetic Variation in Serotonin Transporter Impacts Default Amygdala Function in Healthy Brain. Biological Psychiatry. 62(6): 600-606.

Rao H, Wang J, Tang K, Pan W, Detre JA. 2007. Imaging Brain Activity during Natural Vision Using CASL Perfusion fMRI. Human Brain Mapping. 28(7): 593-601.

Fan Y, Rao H, Hurt H, Giannetta J, Korczykowski M, Shera D, Avants BB, Gee J, Wang J, Shen D. 2007. Multivariate examination of Brain Abnormality Using Both Structural and Functional MRI. NeuroImage. 36(4): 1189-1199.

Kofke WA, Blissitt PA, Rao H, Wang J, Addya K, Detre JA. 2007. Remifentanil-Induced Cerebral Blood Flow Effects in Normal Humans; Dose and Genotype Effects. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 105(1): 167-175.

Wang J, Korczykowski M, Rao H, Fan Y, Pluta J, Detre JA. 2007. Gender Difference in Neural Activation to Psychological Stress. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2(3): 227-239.

Avants B, Hurt H, Giannetta J, Epstein CL, Shera D, Rao H, Wang J, Gee J. 2007. Effects of Heavy In Utero Cocaine Exposure on Adolescent Caudate Nucleus. Pediatric Neurology. 37(4): 275-279.

Chan RC, Rao H, Chen EH, Ye B, Zhang C. 2006. The neural basis of motor sequencing: An fMRI Study of healthy subjects. Neuroscience Letters. 398(3): 189-194.

Olson IR, Rao H, Sledge MK, Wang J, Detre JA. 2006. Using Perfusion fMRI to Measure Continuous Changes in Neural Activity with Learning. Brain and Cognition. 60(3): 262-271.

Wang Z, Wang J, Calhoun V, Rao H, Detre JA, Childress AR 2006. Strategies for Reducing Large fMRI Data Sets for Independent Component Analysis. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 24(5): 591-596.

Kim J, Whyte J, Wang J, Rao H, Tang K, Detre JA. 2006. Continuous ASL Perfusion fMRI Investigation of Higher Cognition: Quantification of Tonic CBF Changes during Sustained Attention and Working Memory Tasks. NeuroImage. 31(1): 376-385.

Newberg A, Wang J, Rao H, Swanson RL, Wintering N, Karp JS, Alavi A, Greenberg JH, Detre JA. 2005. Concurrent CBF and CMRGlc Changes during Human Brain Activation by Combined fMRI-PET Scanning. NeuroImage. 28(2): 500-506.

Wang J, Rao H, Wetmore GS, Furlan PM, Korczykowski M, Dinges DF, Detre JA. 2005. The Stressed Brain: Perfusion FMRI Reveals Cerebral Blood Flow Pattern under Psychological Stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 102: 17804-17809.

Rao H, Han S, Jiang Y, Xue Y, Gu H, Cui Y, Gao D. 2004. Engagement of the Prefrontal Cortex in Representational Momentum: An fMRI Study. NeuroImage, 23(1): 98-103.

Han S, Jiang Y, Gu H, Rao H, Mao L, Cui Y, Zhai R. 2004. The Role of Human Parietal Cortex in Attention Networks. Brain, 127: 650-659.

Rao H, Zhou T, Zhuo Y, Fan S, Chen L. 2003. Spatiotemporal Activation of the Two Visual Pathways in Form Discrimination and Spatial Location: A Brain Mapping Study. Human Brain Mapping, 18: 79-89.

Zhuo Y, Zhou T, Rao H, Wang J, Meng M, Chen M, Zhou M, Chen L. 2003. Contributions of the Visual Ventral Pathway to Long-range Apparent Motion. Science, 299: 417-420.


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