Li-Hai Tan



Professor Lihai Tan received his Ph.D. in psycholinguistics from the University of Hong Kong in 1995. Following postdoctoral research training in Learning Research and Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh where he worked with Chuck Perfetti, he worked in University of Hong Kong from 1999 to 2014, where he was tenured professor on 2007. Prof. Tan has performed research in the field of psycholinguistics and neuroscience at the University of Hong Kong, the Research Imaging Center of the University of Texas Health Science Center, University of Pittsburgh, Intramural Research Programs of the National Institute of Mental Health of NIH, and Chinese Academy of Sciences. He founded the State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Hong Kong in 2005 and served as its director until 2014. He has served as an associate editor of the journal Human Brain Mapping, and is now an editorial board member of the following journals: Human Brain Mapping, Neuroscience, Journal of Neurolinguistics, Culture and Brain, and Contemporary Linguistics. Professor Tan returned to China for a distinguished University Professorship at Shenzhen University School of Medicine in September 2014. His main research interest is to use neuroimaging (fMRI and ERPs) and cognitive techniques to investigate neuroanatomical and cognitive mechanisms underlying language processing, language learning, reading disorders, memory, and attention. The studies conducted by Prof. Tan and his collaborators have shown that the left middle frontal gyrus responsible for verbal working memory critically mediates Chinese character recognition, whereas the left posterior temporoparietal regions critical for English reading are less involved in Chinese reading. He also demonstrated that the neural systems for Chinese and English reading are shaped by learning experience of the two written languages and that activity levels of the left middle frontal cortex serve as a neurobiological marker of Chinese dyslexia. His current work is focused on the study of functions of the left middle frontal gyrus in Chinese reading and translating the basic research findings into clinical practice.