John Van Horn

Professor of Psychology and Data Science

216H Gilmer Hall

Research Areas:

Jack Van Horn joins the faculty of the University of Virginia as Professor of Psychology with a joint appointment in the School of Data Science. 

He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eastern Washington University, a master’s in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his doctorate from the University of London in the United Kingdom. He conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health on the NIH main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, specializing in the human neuroimaging investigation of brain function. He has held previous faculty positions at Dartmouth College, the University of California Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. He is an accomplished author (over 200 journal and book chapter publications; h-index>57), university-level educator, and is known internationally as a pioneer in open science, an expert in neuroinformatics, and ‘big data’ analytics.

His research program is centered on the informatics and data science of human neuroimaging and accompanying biomedical data for the identification of patterns and biomarkers in brain health and disease.  This work focuses on the multimodal neuroimaging of healthy subjects, those with brain trauma, age-related disease, and in children with autism spectrum disorder - contrasting patterns of neuroanatomy, the quantification of brain connectomics, brain function, and the role of computational approaches to dealing with large-scale neuroscience data.  This includes using methodologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging to model the morphological effects of brain injury as well as the effect on white matter fiber pathways. His work involves the use of leading-edge data science and computational approaches for data synthesis, analysis, and inference.  He has had work published in journals such as Nature NeuroscienceSciencePNASNeuroimage, and Philosophical Transactions. He has presented his research at numerous domestic and international scientific conferences and workshops. Dr. Van Horn has received grant funding from the NIH and NSF to support his work as well as has contributed to numerous multi-center collaborative efforts (e.g. The Human Connectome Project; Autism Centers of Excellence, Centers for Biomedical Computing, etc).

Dr. Van Horn served as the Operations Director of the fMRI Data Center – a pioneering effort to share raw, processed, and results data from neuroimaging studies of human cognition.  He was principal investigator of the NIH BD2K Training Coordinating Center, an effort to synthesize data science educational content from around the Internet, index it into a common database framework, and make the information searchable, sortable, and openly available for users to organize into personalized training plans. As part of this program, a unique series of five-day mentored and facilitated Data Science Innovation Lab workshops were held for junior investigators on specific biomedical topics where data science-based approaches are well suited, e.g. mobile health devices, the study of the microbiome, the mathematics of single cell dynamics, and rural health.  This latter component continues at UVA in partnership with the iTHRIV CTSA, the UVA Brain Institute, the UVA Department of Psychology, and UVA School of Data Science.

He is the past education chair and program chair for the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM), and past-president of the Society for Claustrum Research. He was the founding director of the Master of Science in Neuroimaging and Informatics (NIIN) program at USC – a first-of-its-kind program covering the spectrum of human neuroimaging research and practice – and has contributed to other neuroscience graduate programs.  He greatly looks forward to making substantive contributions to UVA brain and data science education.

Dr. Van Horn enjoys his interactions with students, staff, and faculty at the University of Virginia, to making a strong and positive scholarly impact, to forming new and vibrant collaborations, and to working closely with university leadership to advance UVA brain and data sciences. 

Dr. Van Horn is actively seeking doctoral students to begin in Fall of 2021.

Representative Publications (see also Google Scholar):

Van Horn JD. What Is Old Is New Again: Investigating and Analyzing the Mysteries of the Claustrum. Neuroinformatics. 2019;17(1):1-3. doi:10.1007/s12021-018-9411-z.

Hull JV, Dokovna LB, Jacokes ZJ, Torgerson CM, Irimia A, Van Horn JD. Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review [published correction appears in Front Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 22;9:268]. Front Psychiatry. 2017;7:205. Published 2017 Jan 4. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00205

Irimia, A., Chambers, M. C., Torgerson, C. M. and Van Horn, J. D. (2012). "Circular representation of human cortical networks for subject and population-level connectomic visualization." Neuroimage 60(2): 1340-1351, PMC: PMC3594415.

Torgerson, C. M., Irimia, A., Goh, S. Y. and Van Horn, J. D. (2015). "The DTI connectivity of the human claustrum." Hum Brain Mapp 36(3): 827-838, PMC: Pmc4324054, NIHMSID: Nihms647160.

Van Horn, J. D. and Toga, A. W. (2014). "Human neuroimaging as a "Big Data" science." Brain Imaging Behav8(2): 323-331, PMC: PMC3983169.

Van Horn, J. D., Irimia, A., Torgerson, C. M., Chambers, M. C., Kikinis, R. and Toga, A. W. (2012). "Mapping connectivity damage in the case of Phineas Gage." PLoS One 7(5): e37454, PMC: PMC3353935.

Van Horn, J. D., Bhattrai, A. and Irimia, A. (2017). "Multimodal Imaging of Neurometabolic Pathology due to Traumatic Brain Injury." Trends Neurosci 40(1): 39-59, PMC: PMC6492940, NIHMSID: 1008160.

Van Horn, J. D., Grafton, S. T., Rockmore, D. and Gazzaniga, M. S. (2004). "Sharing neuroimaging studies of human cognition." Nat Neurosci 7(5): 473-481.

Van Horn, J. D., Irimia, A., Torgerson, C. M., Bhattrai, A., Jacokes, Z. and Vespa, P. M. (2018). "Mild cognitive impairment and structural brain abnormalities in a sexagenarian with a history of childhood traumatic brain injury." J Neurosci Res 96(4): 652-660, PMC: PMC5696124.

Van Horn, J. D. (2016). "Opinion: Big data biomedicine offers big higher education opportunities." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113(23): 6322-6324, PMC: PMC4988614.


Fellow of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM)

UCLA Neurology Distinguished Teaching Award