Steven Seungk-Suk Kang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
UMKC School of Medicine
Education and Background

Ph.D. - Biological Psychopathology - University of Minnesota Twin Cities
M.A. - Clinical Psychology - Yonsei University, South Korea
B.A. - Psychology and Philosophy - Yonsei University, South Korea

Meet Steven Kang

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Neurology

Research Focus

Multimodal Neuroimaging & Cognitive/Computational Neuroscience Research on Human Behaviors & Neuropsychiatric Disorders (Schizophrenia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Affective Mental Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, Epilepsy)

Research Summary

My laboratory (Cerebral-Computing Lab) focuses on understanding the brain mechanisms of cognitive/emotional processes and mental disorders.  Using multimodal-neuroimaging, psychophysiological, and computational methods, we investigate how normal and abnormal brain processes generate complex behaviors in six research programs.

First, in the Cognitive Neuroscience Research of Schizophrenia, we use experimental cognitive task paradigms, high-density electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and structural/functional MRIs to determine the neural substrates of dysfunctional top-down and bottom-up cognitive processes in people with psychotic disorders.

Second, we study the Brain Mechanisms of Interoception and Affective Mental Disorders, focusing on interoception (the sense of internal state of body), the mechanisms of the central nervous system (CNS) processing signals from the peripheral nervous system (PNS), and the influence of CNS-PNS interactions on cognitive/emotional processes and symptoms of affective mental disorders (e.g., anhedonia, hyper-arousal).

Third, we conduct research on the Computational Neuroscience of Brain Network Dynamics using functional MRIs, EEG/MEG, and computational methods to quantify the functional brain network dynamics (e.g., integration, segregation, and states switching) to determine the relationships between the network dynamics and normal/abnormal behaviors (e.g., attention, mental states, arousal, etc.).

Fourth, as a cognitive neuroscientist and active meditation practitioner, I study Meditation and the brain mechanisms underlying positive changes in the brain states and traits induced by meditation and mind-body intervention using EEG and computational methods.

Fifth, using Monitoring & Decoding of Neural Activities using EEG and Machine Learning techniques, we aim to develop a wearable system for real-time detection of neural activity changes associated with significant neurological and psychiatric events.

Lastly, we are conducting a systematic investigation of the behavioral and neural effects of Non-Invasive Neural Modulation using transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) and transcranial current stimulation (tCS), which are known to improve emotional symptoms and cognitive functions.  We aim to develop optimized neural modulation protocols for enhancing cognitive/emotional functions and treating symptoms of affective mental disorders (depression and anxiety-spectrum disorders).

Current Research Projects
  • The Claustrum, cognitive Deficits & Psychosis
  • Cardiac Interoceptive Brain Functions & Cognitive Processes
  • Cognitive Enhancement using Neural Modulation
  • Computational Modeling of Brain Network State Switching


Research and Professional Experience

Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Associate, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN, USA

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN, USA


Selected Publications

Wiese AD, Lim SL, Filion DL, Kang SS. Intolerance of uncertainty and neural measures of anticipation and reactivity for affective stimuli. Int J Psychophysiol. 2023 Jan;183:138-147. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2022.11.010. Epub 2022 Nov 21. PubMed PMID: 36423712.

Kang SS, Sponheim SR, Lim KO. Interoception Underlies Therapeutic Effects of Mindfulness Meditation for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Biol Psychiatry CNNI. 2022 Aug;7(8):793-804. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2021.10.005. Epub 2021 Oct 21. PubMed PMID: 34688923.

Albishri AA, Shah SJH, Kang SS, Lee Y. AM-UNet: automated mini 3D end-to-end U-net based network for brain claustrum segmentation. Multimed Tools Appl. 2022;81(25):36171-36194. doi: 10.1007/s11042-021-11568-7. Epub 2022 Jan 8. PubMed PMID: 35035265; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8742670.

Longenecker JM, Pokorny VJ, Kang SS, Olman CA, Sponheim SR. Self-reported perceptual aberrations in psychosis map to event-related potentials and semantic appraisals of objects. J Abnorm Psychol. 2021 Oct;130(7):785-796. doi: 10.1037/abn0000697. PubMed PMID: 34780232.

Marquardt CA, Pokorny VJ, Kang SS, Cuthbert BN, Sponheim SR. Posttraumatic stress symptom dimensions and brain responses to startling auditory stimuli in combat veterans. J Abnorm Psychol. 2021 Jul;130(5):455-467. doi: 10.1037/abn0000552. PubMed PMID: 34472883.

Kang SS. Addressing measurement issues in electroencephalography studies of meditations as alternative interventions of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychol Trauma. 2020 Feb;12(2):116-120. doi: 10.1037/tra0000519. Epub 2019 Oct 3. PubMed PMID: 31580136.

Van Voorhis AC, Kent JS, Kang SS, Goghari VM, MacDonald AW 3rd, Sponheim SR. Abnormal neural functions associated with motor inhibition deficits in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Hum Brain Mapp. 2019 Dec 15;40(18):5397-5411. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24780. Epub 2019 Aug 30. PubMed PMID: 31471938; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6864893.

Kang SS, MacDonald AW, Sponheim SR. Dysfunctional Neural Processes Underlying Context Processing Deficits in Schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry CNNI. 2019 Jul;4(7):644-654. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.03.012. Epub 2019 Apr 10. PubMed PMID: 31147272; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6612435.

Kang SS, Erbes CR, Lamberty GJ, Thuras P, Sponheim SR, Polusny MA, Moran AC, Van Voorhis AC, Lim KO. Transcendental meditation for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychol Trauma. 2018 Nov;10(6):675-680. doi: 10.1037/tra0000346. Epub 2018 Jul 19. PubMed PMID: 30024219.

Kang SS, MacDonald AW 3rd, Chafee MV, Im CH, Bernat EM, Davenport ND, Sponheim SR. Abnormal cortical neural synchrony during working memory in schizophrenia. Clin Neurophysiol. 2018 Jan;129(1):210-221. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2017.10.024. Epub 2017 Nov 6. PubMed PMID: 29197736; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5745038.

Boutros NN, Kang SS, Gustafson KM, Thomas Z, Sagduyu K, Pearson J, Bowyer SM. A magnetoencephalography investigation of coherence source imaging in panic disorder. Neuroreport. 2017 Sep 6;28(13):833-837. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000839. PubMed PMID: 28658047.

Kang SS, Sponheim SR. Abnormal Claustral–Cortical Functional Brain Networks in People With Schizophrenia During Perception and Resting: Brain Network Dynamics Underlying Psychotic Symptoms. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2017; 43(suppl_1):S28-S29. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbx021.074.

Kang SS, Lano TJ, Sponheim SR. Distortions in EEG interregional phase synchrony by spherical spline interpolation: causes and remedies. Neuropsychiatric Electrophysiology. 2015; 1(1). doi: 10.1186/s40810-015-0009-5.

Kang SS, Sponheim SR, Chafee MV, MacDonald AW 3rd. Disrupted functional connectivity for controlled visual processing as a basis for impaired spatial working memory in schizophrenia. Neuropsychologia. 2011 Aug;49(10):2836-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.06.009. Epub 2011 Jun 16. PubMed PMID: 21703287; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3156358.

Kang SS, Dionisio DP, Sponheim SR. Abnormal mechanisms of antisaccade generation in schizophrenia patients and unaffected biological relatives of schizophrenia patients. Psychophysiology. 2011 Mar;48(3):350-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01074.x. PubMed PMID: 20636287; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2994980.

Sponheim SR, McGuire KA, Kang SS, Davenport ND, Aviyente S, Bernat EM, Lim KO. Evidence of disrupted functional connectivity in the brain after combat-related blast injury. Neuroimage. 2011 Jan;54 Suppl 1:S21-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.09.007. Epub 2010 Sep 17. PubMed PMID: 20851190.

Kang SS, MacDonald AW 3rd. Limitations of true score variance to measure discriminating power: psychometric simulation study. J Abnorm Psychol. 2010 May;119(2):300-6. doi: 10.1037/a0018400. PubMed PMID: 20455603; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2869469.

Additional Publications and Links of Interest