Have any questions? 848-445-2190 | News | Contact Us


Dr. Yihong Zhao

Office: SMH 201A

Email: yihong.zhao@rutgers.edu

Curriculum Vitae:

  • Bio
  • Current Research
  • Grants
  • Selected Publications
  • Education
  • Recent Awards


Yihong Zhao, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Associate Professor at The Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University Langone Health. She received an undergraduate degree in Statistics from The University of California at Riverside and a Ph.D. in Biostatistics from Columbia University. Her research focuses on developing and applying statistical and machine learning methods to dissect the relationships between genetic factors, neurophenotypes, and psychiatric behaviors. Dr. Zhao’s research has been supported by grants from NIAAA and the Leon Levy Neuroscience Foundation.

Current Research

Dr. Zhao’s current work has a strong interdisciplinary focus, with several broad themes. Her search has been heavily focused on using novel pattern discovery and machine learning approaches to help understand the consequences of alcohol and substance misuse at genetic, brain, and behavioral levels. She is also interested in identifying risk factors that could potentially predict future alcohol and substance misuse problems. The overarching goal of these projects is to reveal novel mechanistic insights into addiction biology through integrative analysis of data from various levels (e.g., genotyping, methylation markers, transcriptome, structural MRI, functional MRI, and behavioral measures).

Her statistical methodological development projects mainly focus on variable selection strategies in high dimensional data setting and functional data analysis, with applications to complex data sets arising in psychology, psychiatry, addiction, and neuroscience.


2014-2016 Principal Investigator; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholosim (R21AA023800)

Links among DNA methylation, neurophenotypes, and alcohol use disorders (AUDs)

2014-2016 Principal Investigator; Leon Levy Fellowship from Leon Levy Foundation

A Big Data Approach for Integrating Genetics and Neuroimaging

Selected Publications

Zhao Y, Klein A, Castellanos F. X., Milham M. P. (2019) Brain Age Prediction: Cortical and Subcortical Shape Covariation in the Developing Human Brain. Neuroimage 202: 116149

Zhao Y, Ge Y, Zheng ZL (2019). Brain Imaging-Guided Analysis Reveals DNA Methylation Profiles Correlated with Insular Surface Area and Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research 43: 628 – 639 (Highlighted in Articles of Public Interest)

Zhao Y, Zheng Z-L, Castellanos FX (2017) Analysis of alcohol use disorders from the Nathan Kline Institute-Rockland Sample: Correlation of brain cortical thickness with neuroticism. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 170: 66-73

Zhao Y, Castellanos FX (2016) Annual Research Review: Discovery science strategies in studies of the pathophysiology of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders: promises and limitations. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 57: 421-439

Zhao Y, Chen H, Ogden RT (2015) Wavelet-based weighted LASSO and screening approaches in functional linear regression. Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics 24:655-675

Reiss P, Huo L, Zhao Y, Kelly C, Ogden RT (2015) Wavelet-domain methods for scalar- on-image regression. Annals of Applied Statistics 9: 1076-1101

Zhao Y, Ogden RT, Reiss, PT (2012) Wavelet-based LASSO in functional linear regression. Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics 21: 600-617

Zhao Y, Wang S (2009) Optimal DNA pooling-based two-stage designs in case-control association studies. Human Heredity 67: 46-56


  BS, University of California, Riverside, Statistics
2010 PhD, Columbia University, Biostatistics


Recent Awards

2018 National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Diversity Scholars
2016 Mathematical and Statistical Challenges in Neuroimaging Data Analysis Workshop, Banff International Research Station, Canada National Science Foundation Travel Award
2015 SAMSI (Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute) Program on Challenges in Computational Neuroscience, Durham, NC Research Fellow
2013 SAMSI Neuroimaging Data Analysis Workshop, Durham, NC National Science Foundation Travel Award