Richard Ryan Darby

Assistant Professor
Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Research Description
Ryan Darby is an assistant professor of neurology at Vanderbilt University. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in psychology and neuroscience, and his medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He trained in neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital as part of the Partners Neurology/Harvard Medical School program. He then received the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Research Fellowship in Clinical Neurosciences at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He simultaneously completed a clinical fellowship in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Boston. He currently sees patients in the Frontotemporal Dementia Clinic and Dementia-related Psychosis Clinic in the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Darby is interested in patients with symptoms at the border zone between neurology and psychiatry. Both neurological and psychiatric patients can share similar symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, social behavioral disorders, and disorders of volition and agency. This suggests that these symptoms may share a common pathway across different diseases. He uses a combination of advanced neuroimaging techniques and behavioral testing to understand the underlying neurobiology of these symptoms at the network level. His work has lent insight into how brain dysfunction can lead to delusions, hallucinations, and criminal behavior in patients with focal brain lesions and dementia. Future research efforts will include PET imaging of dopamine and serotonin receptors to determine how neurotransmitter systems affect network function in neuropsychiatric patients. His ultimate hope is that this research will translate into new treatment targets for patients with very few therapeutic options. This includes new types of drugs, as well as the possibility of using noninvasive brain stimulation to alter specific networks in the brain.

Dr. Darby has received numerous awards for his research, including the Stanley Cobb Award from the Boston Society for Neurology and Psychiatry, the Young Investigator Award from the American Neuropsychiatric Association, and the S. Weir Mitchell Award for Outstanding Early Career Investigator from the American Academy of Neurology. His work is generously funded by the Sidney R. Baer, Jr Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association, and the BrightFocus Foundation.
Clinical Description
Dr. Darby currently sees patients in the Frontotemporal Dementia Clinic and Dementia-related Psychosis Clinic in the Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Research Keywords
frontotemporal dementia, psychosis, morality, neuroimaging, functional connectivity
Darby RR, Horn A, Cushman F, Fox MD. Lesion network localization of criminal behavior. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A [print-electronic]. 2017 Dec 12/18/2017; PMID: 29255017, PII: 1706587115, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1706587115, ISSN: 1091-6490.

Darby RR, Brickhouse M, Wolk DA, Dickerson BC, . Effects of cognitive reserve depend on executive and semantic demands of the task. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatry [print-electronic]. 2017 Sep; 88(9): 794-802. PMID: 28630377, PII: jnnp-2017-315719, DOI: 10.1136/jnnp-2017-315719, ISSN: 1468-330X.

Darby RR, Fox MD. Reply: Capgras syndrome: neuroanatomical assessment of brain MRI findings in an adolescent patient. Brain. 2017 Jul 7/1/2017; 140(7): e44. PMID: 28582487, PII: 3861135, DOI: 10.1093/brain/awx125, ISSN: 1460-2156.

Darby RR, Laganiere S, Pascual-Leone A, Prasad S, Fox MD. Finding the imposter: brain connectivity of lesions causing delusional misidentifications. Brain [print-electronic]. 2017 Feb; 140(2): 497-507. PMID: 28082298, PMCID: PMC5278302, PII: aww288, DOI: 10.1093/brain/aww288, ISSN: 1460-2156.

Darby RR, Dickerson BC. Dementia, Decision Making, and Capacity. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2016 Dec; 25(6): 270-8. PMID: 29117022, PMCID: PMC5711478, PII: 00023727-201711000-00005, DOI: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000163, ISSN: 1465-7309.

Darby RR, Pascual-Leone A. Moral Enhancement Using Non-invasive Brain Stimulation. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017; 11: 77. PMID: 28275345, PMCID: PMC5319982, DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00077, ISSN: 1662-5161.

Stip E, Darby RR, Bhattacharyya S, Berkowitz AL. Antibiotic-associated encephalopathy. Neurology. 2016 Sep 9/13/2016; 87(11): 1188-9. PMID: 27621383, PII: 01.wnl.0000499649.36058.c0, DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000499649.36058.c0, ISSN: 1526-632X.

Bhattacharyya S, Darby RR, Raibagkar P, Gonzalez Castro LN, Berkowitz AL. Antibiotic-associated encephalopathy. Neurology [print-electronic]. 2016 Mar 3/8/2016; 86(10): 963-71. PMID: 26888997, PII: WNL.0000000000002455, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002455, ISSN: 1526-632X.

Darby R, Prasad S. Lesion-Related Delusional Misidentification Syndromes: A Comprehensive Review of Reported Cases. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci [print-electronic]. 2016; 28(3): 217-22. PMID: 26900740, DOI: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.15100376, ISSN: 1545-7222.

Darby RR, Caplan D. "Cat-gras" delusion: a unique misidentification syndrome and a novel explanation. Neurocase [print-electronic]. 2016; 22(2): 251-6. PMID: 26765326, DOI: 10.1080/13554794.2015.1136335, ISSN: 1465-3656.

Bhattacharyya S, Darby R, Berkowitz AL. Antibiotic-induced neurotoxicity. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2014 Dec; 16(12): 448. PMID: 25348743, DOI: 10.1007/s11908-014-0448-3, ISSN: 1523-3847.

Darby R. Ethical issues in the use of cognitive enhancement. Pharos Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Med Soc. 2010; 73(2): 16-22. PMID: 20455376, ISSN: 0031-7179.

Schneider ER, Rada P, Darby RD, Leibowitz SF, Hoebel BG. Orexigenic peptides and alcohol intake: differential effects of orexin, galanin, and ghrelin. Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res [print-electronic]. 2007 Nov; 31(11): 1858-65. PMID: 17850217, PII: ACER510, DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00510.x, ISSN: 0145-6008.

Available Postdoctoral Position Details
Posted: 11/7/2017

Neuroimaging Post-Doctoral Fellowship

We are seeking a motivated and enthusiastic post-doctoral fellow for a position in the Network Localization in Neuropsychiatry Lab. We use novel neuroimaging techniques that localize structural lesions or focal regions of atrophy to large-scale functional brain networks to better understand neuropsychiatric symptoms. The lab additionally studies how network dysfunction in neuropsychiatric patients relates to behavioral testing and PET imaging of dopamine and serotonin receptors. We study patients with hallucinations and delusions due to Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as moral decision-making and criminality in patients with frontotemporal dementia and Huntington’s disease.

The position would include collection, analysis, and interpretation of multi-modality neuroimaging and behavioral testing in these patients. It would additionally involve the development of novel neuroimaging processing techniques using large existing data sets. The ideal candidate would have a strong background in neuroimaging, including familiarity with common neuroimaging analysis software packages (FSL, SPM, freesurfer), programming (Matlab, UNIX, Python), and most importantly, a passion for understanding brain-behavior relationships.

Interested candidates should send a brief cover letter, CV, and 3 references to Ryan Darby at