Vanderbilt University
Institute of Imaging Science

Nellie Byun, Ph.D

Program Manager

Contact Information
(615) 322-0385


My research interests include developing and applying pharmacologic MRI and behavioral techniques to characterize rodent models of neuropsychiatric disease; to elucidate the mechanisms of novel therapeutic drugs; and to assess the neuromodulatory effects of drug treatments.


My current research focuses on quantifying pharmacological responses using pharmacologic MRI (phMRI) and behavior techniques and correlate these data with neurochemistry and/or microdialysis to assess the mechanism of novel therapeutic compounds, including selective muscarinic cholinergic and metabotropic glutamate receptor allosteric modulators for the treatment of schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, anxiety disorders, addiction, and effects on cognition. We assess activation functional MRI, resting state functional connectivity networks, 18FDG-PET, and 18Fallypride-PET in awake and anesthetized rats, as well as squirrel monkeys. In addition, we are assessing animal models of spinal cord injury and psychosis with collaborators. I support collaborations between VUIIS and the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, Neurology, and Radiology.


Barry RL*, Byun NE*, Tantawy MN, Mackey CA, Wilson GH 3rd, Stark AJ, Flom MP, Gee LC, Quarles CC. In vivo neuroimaging and behavioral correlates in a rat model of chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction. Brain Imaging Behav. 2018;12(1):87-95. *equal contribution

Wu TL, Wang F, Mishra A, Wilson GH 3rd, Byun N, Chen LM, Gore JC. Resting-state functional connectivity in the rat cervical spinal cord at 9.4 T. Magn Reson Med. 2018;79(5):2773-2783

Moehle MS, Pancani T, Byun N, Yohn SE, Wilson GH 3rd, Dickerson JW, Remke DH, Xiang Z, Niswender CM, Wess J, Jones CK, Lindsley CW, Rook JM, Conn PJ. Cholinergic Projections to the Substantia Nigra Pars Reticulata Inhibit Dopamine Modulation of Basal Ganglia through the M4 Muscarinic Receptor. Neuron. 2017;96(6):1358-1372

Baheza RA, Wilson GH, Gore JC, Byun NE. Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 2 potentiation reverses amphetamine-induced activity in the nucleus accumbens. Society for Biological Psychiatry, 2017.

Gould RW, Baeza RA, Klepschmidt E, Wilson GH, Gore JC, Byun NE. Effects of amphetamine on the prefrontal cortical resting state network in rat. Frontiers in Biomedical Imaging, 2017