Fang-Cheng Yeh, MD, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Director, High-Definition Fiber Tractography Lab

Fang-Cheng (Frank) Yeh, MD, PhD, joined the Department of Neurological Surgery in 2016. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Yeh received his MD degree from National Taiwan University and completed his PhD study in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in 2014.

Dr. Yeh is currently working on diffusion MRI and its role as image biomarkers for neurological and psychiatric disorders. His research focuses on novel applications of computational methods to brain connectome research, a challenging field with a lot of known unknowns and unsolved questions that require extensive technological development. He has developed several diffusion MRI methods and applied them to both clinical and translational studies.

Dr. Yeh is known for his development of DSI Studio, an integrated platform for diffusion MRI analysis, fiber tracking, and 3D tractography visualization. In 2020 alone, DSI Studio facilitated more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. DSI Studio provides the core technique for “high accuracy fiber tracking,” which has been widely used by many research groups to investigate how major fiber pathways are affected by neurological and psychiatric diseases. In an open competition sponsored by the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) in 2015, Dr. Yeh’s method achieved the highest valid connection score (92.49%, ID:03) among 96 different approaches submitted by a total of 20 groups from around the world.

Dr. Yeh's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Diffusion MRI, tractography, network analysis, medical image analysis, pathology informatics.

Education & Training

  • MD, National Taiwan University, 2006
  • PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2014

Honors & Awards

  • Chancellor’s Commercialization Fund Award, Pitt Ventures First Gear Program, University of Pittsburgh, 2019

Research Activities

Tractography Atlases for Human and Animal Brains
Population averaged tractography atlas created using human connectome project data. Dr. Yeh collaborates with Duke CIVM to build expert-vetted, tractography atlases of the brain connections using ultra-high-resolution diffusion MRI data.

This was achieved by tractography to generate trajectories of representative white matter fascicles. The trajectories were clustered and labeled by a team of experienced neuroanatomists.

This atlas of the structural connectome represents normative neuroanatomical organization of human brain white matter, complementary to traditional histologically-derived and voxel-based white matter atlases, allowing for better modeling and simulation of brain connectivity for future connectomic studies as well as clinical and educational applications.

Diagnosis of Brain Disorders using Differential Tractography
Differential tractography is another novel tractography modality invented in Dr. Yeh’s lab. It aims to explore individual brain connections to find neuronal change that leads to better clinical diagnosis or prognosis evaluation.

Differential tractography uses a “tracking-the-differences” paradigm to track pathways with neuronal change in a patient. It can be applied to either longitudinal studies or cross-sectional studies. The approach boosts the sensitivity and specificity of the imaging findings through the fiber tracking algorithms.

Dr. Yeh is currently applying the technique to ALS patients, with an aim to achieve accurate early diagnosis.

Media Appearances