Richard Ryan Darby, MD

Dr. Ryan Darby's research interests involve using neurologic methods to investigate the anatomy, psychology, and philosophy involved in disorders of the brain.  In addition to being the lab's Principal Investigator, he runs the Vanderbilt Frontotemporal Dementia Clinic.

Ryan Darby is an assistant professor of neurology and Director of the Frontotemporal dementia clinic 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.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Darby is interested in patients with symptoms at the border zone between neurology, psychiatry, and philosophy. Both neurological and psychiatric patients can share similar symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, criminal behavior, and disordered free will perception. 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. 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.

Research Information

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, the New Investigator Award in Neuropsychiatry from the Alzheimer's Association, and the S. Weir Mitchell Award for Outstanding Early Career Investigator from the American Academy of Neurology. His work has also attracted significant media attention, including coverage in Newsweek, Scientific American, US News & World Report, Slate, Discovery Magazine, Telegraph, CBS News, and NBC News. His research is generously funded by the Sidney R. Baer, Jr Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association, the BrightFocus Foundation, and the Vanderbilt Faculty Research Scholars Award.