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Dr. Yazhuo Kong

Dr. Yazhuo Kong

75th descendant of Confucius!  

B.Eng: University of Science and Technology of China

Ph.D: University of Sheffield

I have moved to Beijing since December 2016 as Research Professor and Director of the Pain Neuroimaging and Translational Research Centre, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Joe Yazhuo Kong


Honorary Research Fellow

  • Pain Neuroimaging analysis

Pain neuroscience, spinal cord MRI, neuropathic pain, neurodegeneration diseases

spinal MRI

Quantitative spinal cord MRI

My research focuses on quantitative MRI (structural, diffusion, spectroscopy and fMRI) of human spinal cord with applications to pain and neurodegeneration diseases. 

The spinal cord is the first part of the central nervous system (CNS) involved in the transmission of somatosensory information from the body periphery to the brain, as well as the last part of the CNS involved in relaying motor signals to the body periphery. Non-invasive functional MRI offers the possibility of studying spinal cord function and role in sensory, motor and pain processes. However functional MRI of the spinal cord is very challenging due to its small cross-sectional area, magnetic susceptibility differences in tissues adjacent to the cord, as well as the influence of physiological noise.

I aim to develop optimised protocols to analyse spinal cord fMRI including reliable pre-processing, physiological noise correction and robust group co-registration.

Recently for the first time we have discovered biologically plausible and spatially distinct resting state networks (RSNs) exist in the human spinal cord (Kong 2014 PNAS). Check out the interview by Nature NeuroPod about this work: