BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Institute
Donna Lang

Donna Lang

Assistant Professor, Radiology
Faculty of Medicine
UBC – BCMHARI                                                                               Lead Imaging Research Scientist
Phone: 604-875-2000 ext 4727
Email: [email protected]

Biomed BiomedExperts Profile

Description of Research Program

In 1995, as a new graduate student in the department of psychiatry, I began investigating the morphological phenomena of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. These initial in-vivo investigations involved the application of CT (Computed Tomography) imaging to examine phenotypic characteristics of brain morphology in families affected by schizophrenia. Since that time, my research has moved forward into multi-modal applications of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to investigate the effects of antipsychotic medications on brain structure in schizophrenia, the relationships between structure, symptoms and cognition in psychotic disorders and first-episode psychosis, and more recently, the interactions between substance abuse, psychosis and systemic infections on brain morphology.

Currently, all my neuroimaging research data are obtained at UBC on the high-field research scanner, which produces exceptionally high quality scans and gives researchers the capability to examine physiological, biochemical and physical markers in the brain. This has allowed me, along with the residents and graduate students I work with, to examine the neurocircuitry and metabolic characteristics of psychotic disorders using diffusion tensor imaging and spectroscopy. My most recent imaging grant will give me an opportunity to investigate the effects of exercise on hipppocampal volume and vascularization in chronic schizophrenia patients. I am also planning new research into isopropyl alcohol toxicity on white matter tracts using an animal model. This project arose from imaging data in humans who are abusing rubbing alcohol and suffer from concomitant psychotic episodes.

Research Information

Mental Illness / Substance

Methamphetamine, Psychotic disorders, Schizophrenia

Area of Research

Animal models, Brain imaging, Brain morphology, Cognition, Dual diagnosis, Evaluation research, HIV/AIDS, Medication effects, Neuropsychiatry/Neuropsychology

Keyword Terms

Antipsychotic medications, Atypical antipsychotics, First episode psychosis, MRI

Selected Publications

View Complete List of Publications

Goghari VM, Lang DJ, Khorram B, Gotz J, Vandorpe RA, Smith GN, Kopala LC, Barr AM and Honer WG. 2010. Anterior internal capsule volumes increase in patients wit schizophrenia switched from typical antipsychotics to olanzapine. J. Psychopharmcol. In Press.

Smith GN, Wong H, MacEwan GW, Kopala LC, Ehmann TS, Thornton AE, Lang DJ, Barr AM, Procyshyn R, Austin JC, Flynn SW, and Honer WG. 2009. Predictors of starting to smoke cigarettes in patients with first-episode psychosis. Schiz. Res. 108(1-3): 258-264.

Voineskos AN, Lang DJ, Zai G, Bulgin N, Shaikh S, Su W, Kopala LC, MacEwan GW, Thornton AE, Smith GN, Austin JC, Honer WG, and Kennedy JL. 2008. MAG gene variation and cortical gray matter volume in first episode schizophrenia. Brain & Behavior. Vol. 2(2): 117-122.

Lang DJ, Khorram B, Goghari VM, Kopala LC, Vandorpe RA, Rui Q, Smith GN and Honer WG. 2006. Reduced anterior internal capsule and thalamic volumes in first-episode psychosis. Schiz. Res. Vol. 87:89-99.

Lang DJ, Kopala LC, Vandorpe RA, Rui Q, Smith GN, Goghari VA, Lapointe JS, Honer WG. 2004. Reduced basal ganglia volumes after switching to olanzapine in chronically treated patients with schizophrenia. Amer. J. Psychiat. Vol. 161: 1829-1836.