Yama Akbari

picture of Yama  Akbari

Associate Professor, Neurology
School of Medicine

Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
School of Medicine

Associate Professor, Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic

Associate Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology
School of Medicine

M.D., University of California, Irvine, 2006
Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 2005, Neurobiology & Behavior
B.S., University of California, Los Angeles, 1996, Psychobiology

Phone: (949) 824-1888
Email: yakbari@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
2113 Gillespie NRF
Mail Code: 4292
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Coma, Consciousness, Cardiac Arrest; Optical Imaging of cerebral blood flow and brain metabolism; optimizing CPR; stroke; traumatic brain injury; neural monitoring devices; translational research; clinical trials
Research Abstract
Yama Akbari is a critical care neurologist and neuroscientist who is a tenured Associate Professor of Neurology, Neurological Surgery, Anatomy & Neurobiology, and the Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic at UC Irvine. He is a physician-scientist who specializes in neuro-critical care, splitting his time between clinical duties taking care of patients in the Neuro-Intensive Care Unit (Neuro-ICU) at UC Irvine Medical Center and running a basic science/translational research lab focused on consciousness, coma, and cardiac arrest/resuscitation. Other areas of research include stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Yama obtained a BS in psychobiology from UCLA followed by a combined MD/PhD program at UC Irvine, where his PhD was focused on molecular neuroscience in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. He then completed a neurology residency at UCLA followed by a 2-year neurocritical care fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. In 2012, he was recruited back to UC Irvine as a tenure-track physician/scientist where he established UC Irvine’s first cardiac arrest and resuscitation laboratory. The lab was built to mimic a Neuro-Intensive Care Unit (Neuro-ICU) to optimize translational potential, thus incorporating multimodal monitoring with neurophysiology, cardiac/pulmonary physiology, and signal processing of brain connectivity. In close collaboration with other faculty members at the Beckman Laser Institute, the multimodal platform broadened to include advanced optical imaging of cerebral blood flow and brain metabolism during cardiac arrest and resuscitation. The Akbari lab utilizes a wide range of in vivo and in vitro techniques carrying bench-to-bedside research investigating changes in cerebral hemodynamics, brain metabolism, and brain connectivity during hyperdynamic changes in perfusion during cardiac arrest (including clinical death) and resuscitation back to life. The goal of the lab is to improve our understanding of consciousness and coma due to various types of acute brain injury as well as improving resuscitation maneuvers for the treatment of cardiac arrest to protect the brain. Alongside taking care of critically ill patients and running his research lab, he also teaches students (undergraduates, graduate, and medical) as well as residents and clinical fellows.
Awards and Honors
Selected awards since becoming a faculty member at UC Irvine:

2021-2023 Faculty Innovation Fellow, UCI Beall Applied Innovation
2021 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentorship
2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 - Physicians of Excellence Honoree, Orange County Medical Association
2018 Athalie Clarke Research Associates Dean’s Junior Physician/Scientist Award
2018 Hiruma/Wagner Award (Japan)
2017 NIH NIBIB Trailblazer Award
2017-2021 Southern California Super Doctors Honoree
2015 Faculty Mentor of the Month, UC Irvine Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
2014-2016 Rising Star, Southern California Super Doctors
2014 UCI ICTS KL2 Awardee (Mentored Career Development Award)
2013 Best Abstract Award, American Heart Association, Resuscitation Science Symposium
2012 Cristanne Wijman Young Investigator Award of the Neurocritical Care Society
See lab website above for a list of publications.
NIH NIBIB R21, EB024793 (2017-2020, NCE to 2021; PI: Akbari): "Multimodal Optical Imaging of Hyperdynamic Cerebral Responses to Cardiac Arrest & Resuscitation." Role: PI
UCI ICTS Pilot Grant (via NIH CTSA UL1 TR001414; 2018-2019): "Mechanisms underlying a novel, highly prognostic EEG signal during cardiac arrest and resuscitation." Role: PI
NIH NIA EB024793S1 (2018-2019; NCE to 2020; PI: Akbari): "Longitudinal High-Speed Optical Imaging of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease." Role: PI
NIH NINDS R21, NS096987 (2016-2018; PI: John Weiss): "Mitochondrial Zn2+ in ischemic neurodegeneration: In vivo tests of principle studies in a rat cardiac arrest model." Role: Co-I
NIH NIBIB R21, EB024793-S2 (2019-2020, NCE to 2021; PI: Akbari): "High-Speed Optical Imaging of Cerebrovascular Resistance and Cerebral Autoregulation Dynamics in a New Sporadic Model of Alzheimer’s Disease" Role: PI
NIH NIBIB R21, AG066000 (2020-2022, PI: Bernard Choi): “Multiscale optical characterization of cerebrovascular structure, function and oxygen utilization in a novel mouse model of sporadic Alzheimer's disease." Role: Co-I
Hamamatsu Photonics - Transalational (1st in patients) study of a novel optical imaging device; (2019-2022, PI: Akbari): “Feasibility of Time-Resolved Spectroscopy (TRS) for Assessment of Patients in the Neuro-ICU” Role: Lead PI
Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute Pilot Grant (2021-2022; PI Akbari) “The role of ketones in protecting the brain and heart during ultra-short caloric restriction.” Role: Lead PI
Roneet Carmell Memorial Endowment Fund (2019 - present) Role: PI
Professional Societies
Neurocritical Care Society
Society of Critical Care Medicine
American Heart Association
Society for Neuroscience
American Academy of Neurology
Research Center
Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic
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