• Lang, Donna


    Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
    Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

    Degrees / Designations
    Primary Area of Research
    Brain, Behaviour & Development
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    604-875-2000 ext. 4727
    Lab Phone
    Mailing Address
    Centre for Complex Disorders

    Rm A3-124
    938 West 28th Avenue
    Vancouver, V5Z 1H4

    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas
    • Methamphetamine
    • Psychotic disorders 
    • Schizophrenia
    • Brain imaging
    • Brain morphology 
    • Cognition
    • Dual diagnosis
    • Evaluation research
    • Medication effects
    • Neuropsychiatry/ Neuropsychology
    • Exercise & Brain

    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 susceptibility-weighted imaging. My current projects involve the investigation of the effects of exercise on hipppocampal volume and vascularization in chronic schizophrenia patients and in adolescent psychosis patients. Additionally, I am involved in a large longitudinal imaging study of multi-diagnosis addiction, psychosis and infection subjects over the course of 5-8 years.  Some of the goals of this study include investigating the interactions of life circumstances, addiction, mental illness and physical illnesses in an urban population, and how these interactions have affected quality of life, health care access, persistence of mental disorder/addictions and neurobiological integrity.

    Current Projects
    Selected Publications

    Bond DJ, da Silveira LE, MacMillan E, Torres I, Lang DJ, Su W, Honer WG, Lam R, and Yatham LN 2015. Relationship between body mass index and hippocampal glutamate/glutamine in bipolar disorder. Brit. J. Psychiat (In Press)

    Kawano M, Sawada K, Shimodera S, Ogawa Y, Kariya S, Lang DJ, Inoue S, and Honer WG. Feb 6,  2015. Hippocampal subfield volumes in first-episode and chronic schizophrenia. PLoS One- DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117785. PMID: 25658118

    Smith GN, Thornton AE, Lang DJ, MacEwan GW, Kopala LC, Su W, and Honer WG. Cortical morphology and early adverse events in first-episode psychosis. Psychol Med. Accepted Nov 18, 2014. PMID: 25499574

    Gicas K, Vila-Rodriguez F, Paquet K, Barr AM, Procyshyn R, Lang DJ, Smith GN, Baitz H, Giesbrecht C, Montaner J, Krajden M, MacEwan GW, Panenka W, Honer WG, and Thornton AE. (Sept) 2014. Neurocognitive profiles of marginally housed persons with co-morbid substance dependence, viral infection and psychiatric illness. J of Clin & Exptl Neuropsych, 36(10): 1009-1022. PMID: 25380059

    Bond DJ, Ha TH, Lang DJ, Su W, Torres IJ, Honer WG, Lam RW and Yatham LY. Body mass index-related regional grey and white matter volume reduction in first-episode mania patients. Biological Psychiatry, Vol 76(2): 138-145. 2013.PMID: 24120119

    Lecomte, T., Mueser, K.T., MacEwan, G.W., Laferriere-Simard, M.C., Thornton, A.E., Buchanan, T., Goldner, E., Brink, J., Ehmann, T.S., Lang, D.J., Kang, S., Barr, A.M., & Honer, W.G. (2010). Profiles of individuals seeking psychiatric help for psychotic symptoms linked to methamphetamine abuse - Baseline results from MAPS (Methamphetamine and Psychosis Study). Ment. Health & Subst Use, 3(3), 168-181. PMID:

    Smith, G.N., MacEwan, G.W., Kopala, Lang, D.J., Barr, A.M., Honer, W.G., Ehmann, T.S., Good, K., Thornton, A.E., & Neilson, H. (2010) Prenatal tobacco exposure in first-episode psychosis. 
    Schizophrenia Research, 119(1-3), 271–272. PMID: 20116216

    Vertinsky, A.T., Coenen, V.A., Lang, D.J., Kolind, S., Honey, C.R., Li, D. & Rauscher, A. (2009). Localization of Subthalamic Nucleus: Optimization with susceptibility-weighted phase MR Imaging. 
    AJNR. 30, 1717-1724. PMID: 19509077

    Voineskos A.N., de Luca, V., Bulgin, N., van Adrichem, Q., Shaikh, S., Lang, D.J., Honer, W.G., & Kennedy, J.L. 2008. A family-based association study of the myelin-associated glycoprotien and 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase genes with schizophrenia. 
    Psychiatric Genetics, 18(3), 143- 146. PMID: 18496213

    Voineskos, A.N., Lang, D.J., Zai, G., Bulgin, N., Shaikh, S., Su, W., Kopala, L.C., MacEwan, G.W., Thornton, A.E., Smith, G.N., Austin, J.C., Honer, W.G., & Kennedy, J.L. (2008). MAG gene variation and cortical gray matter volume in first episode schizophrenia
    Brain Imaging & Behavior. Vol. 2(2): 117- 122.

    Panenka, W. J., Khorram, B., Barr, A. M., Smith, G. N., Lang, D. J., Kopala, L. C., Vandorpe, R.A., & Honer, W. G. (2007). A longitudinal study on the effects of typical versus atypical antipsychotic drugs on hippocampal volume in schizophrenia.
    Schizophrenia Research, 94(1-3), 288-292. PMID: 17570643

    Lang, D.J., Khorram, B., Goghari, V.M., Kopala, L.C., Vandorpe, R.A., Rui, Q., Smith, G.N. & Honer, W.G. (2006). Reduced anterior internal capsule and thalamic volumes in first-episode psychosis. 
    Schiz. Res. Vol. 87:89-99. PMID: 16793239

    Barr, A.M., Panenka, W.J., MacEwan, G.W., Thornton, A.E., Lang, D.J., Honer, W.G., & Lecomte, T. (2006). 
    The need for speed: an update on methamphetamine addiction. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN, 31(5), 301-31. PMID: 16951733

    Khorram, B., Lang, D.J., Kopala, L.C., Vandorpe, R.A., Rui, Q., Smith, G.N., Goghari, V.M., Lapointe, J.S. & Honer, W.G. (2006). Reduced thalamic volume in chronic schizophrenia patients after switching from typical antipsychotic medications to olanzapine. 
    Amer. J. Psychiat. Vol. 163 (11): 2005-2007. PMID: 17074955

    Lang DJ, Khorram B, Goghari VM, Kopala LC, Vandorpe RA, Rui Q, Smith GN and Honer WG. Reduced anterior internal capsule and thalamic volumes in first-episode psychosis. Schizophrenia Research. June 2006.  Impact Factor 5.1. Vol. 87:89-99.PMID: 16793239

    Honours & Awards
    Research Group Members