Skip to main content

Yen-Yu Ian Shih, PhDUNC Neurology is excited to announce Dr. Yen-Yu Ian Shih as its next Vice Chair for Research. Dr. Shih has over 10 years of research experience at UNC Neurology, joining the faculty in 2012 and appointed Associate Professor in 2017. Along with his position in Neurology, Dr. Shih has also served as Associate Director of the UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center (BRIC) and Director of the Center for Animal MRI (CAMRI). Dr. Shih is also a faculty member of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, the Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), McAllister Heart Institute (MHI), and Adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC.  

Accompanying his knowledge of managing successful core research facilities, Dr. Shih has a strong record of reviewing and receiving NIH funding. Dr. Shih’s team secured over $10M granted in the past 5 years, including three NIH BRAIN Initiative Awards. Dr. Shih will bring his expertise in assisting Neurology faculty with securing funding to his position as Vice Chair as well as his experience guiding research trainees and medical students.  

Dr. Shih has a strong vision for his tenure as Vice Chair, “my mission is to shape the department to become a leading academic unit in neurology research. My emphasis will be to develop research infrastructure and set relevant policies for our department, identify resources to support our researchers, foster collaborations within and across departments and centers, promote overall research output and quality of science, and help create innovative solutions to patients.” 

Dr. Shih has set out seven concise goals for his tenure as Neurology Vice Chair of Research: 

  1. Develop beneficial relationships between Neurology faculty and trainees with basic researchers and core facilities at UNC.  
  2. Support the department’s faculty, trainees, and students to be more competitive in federal fundings through personal and committee-based consultations.  
  3. Chair two new clinical research committees: 1. Develop guidelines to assist NCTU operations and evaluate trial feasibility, and 2. Prioritize funding for department pilot awards. 
  4. Chair a basic research committee to recommend department basic research funding investment.  
  5. Establish policy for research faculty promotions/appointments for the department.  
  6. Assist in recruiting promising researchers to UNC Neurology 
  7. Host Neurology Research events.  

Dr. Shih’s research focuses on utilizing fMRI and brain stimulation/recording technology to increase understanding of macroscopic functional brain networks. Recently, Dr. Shih led his research team to identify how locus coeruleus controls a large-scale brain network, measure dopamine and tissue oxygen changes during MRI scanning, and develop an improved fiber-based optical method to measure activity changes in the brain 

With Dr. Shih’s long tenure at UNC, extensive experience in research, grant funding, and center management, Neurology looks forward to the leadership that Dr. Shih will provide as Vice Chair of Research. To learn more about Dr. Shih, please follow his lab’s website at