Marc Guitart-Masip

Title: Senior Researcher

Sector: Psychology

Marc Guitart-Masip is a senior reseacher at the Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institute, Sweden where he has established himself as an independent scientist. In parallel he is training as a clinical psychiatrist at Psykiatri Nordväst, Stockholm, Sweden. He graduated in medicine in 2002 at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and obtained a PhD in Neuroscience at the same university in 2006. During his PhD, he performed experiments in the field of Behavioral and Molecular Pharmacology using animal models of vulnerability to addiction. After obtaining a PhD, his interests expanded to Cognitive Neuroscience and between 2008 and 2012 he was a postdoctoral fellow first at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and thereafter at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, at University College London (UCL).

Marc has three main research interests:

  • First, to understand the role of neuromodulators like dopamine and serotonin in motivational process and decision-making across the adult lifespan. This involves the study of how these neuromodulators impact the computational and neural underpinnings of the decision-making processes in adults of different ages in cross-sectional studies.
  • Second, to understand the relationship between cognitive abilities and system-level measures of brain function such as functional connectivity to study how changes in functional connectivity associated with normal aging impact and eventually compromise cognitive abilities. This understanding will pave the road to the use functional connectivity to predict cognitive function in health and disease. He is currently working on these two topics with Benjamin Garzon and Lieke de Boer leading a project funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskaprådet) entitled “Dopamine and behavioral control across the adult lifespan”.
  • Finally, he is also interested in the role of the human hippocampus in the generation of adaptive responses in the context of anxiety or novelty.

He combines behavioral approaches, computational modeling, pharmacological manipulations and imaging techniques such as fMRI, PET and MEG. His long-term goal is to apply the advances of cognitive and computational neuroscience to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools for psychiatry disorders.

PI of the project Uncontrollable stress, dopamine and decision-making in health and depression: Preliminary study

Selected publications (* equally contributing authors)

de Boer L, Axelsson J, Chowdhury R, Riklund K, Dolan RJ, Nyberg L, Bäckman L, Guitart-Masip M (2018) Dorsal striatal dopamine D1 receptor availability predicts an instrumental bias in action learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 116:261-270.

de Boer L, Axelsson J, Riklund K, Nyberg L, Dayan P, Bäckman L, Guitart-Masip M (2017) Attenuation of dopamine-modulated prefrontal value signals underlies probabilistic reward learning deficits in old age. Elife 6, pii: e26424.

Guitart-Masip M, Salami A, Garrett D, Rieckmann A, Lindenberger U, Bäckman L. (2015) BOLD Variability is Related to Dopaminergic Neurotransmission and Cognitive Aging. Cereb Cortex 26: 2074-2083

Guitart-Masip M, Duzel E, Dolan R, Dayan P (2014) Action versus valence in decision making. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 18: 194-202.

Bach DR, Guitart-Masip M, Packard PA, Miró J, Falip M, Fuentemilla L, Dolan RJ (2014) Human hippocampus arbitrates approach-avoidance conflict. Current Biology 24:541-547.

Chowdhury R*, Guitart-Masip M*, Lambert C, Dayan P, Huys Q, Düzel E, Dolan RJ (2013) Dopamine restores reward prediction errors in old age. Nature Neuroscience 16:648-653.

Cavanagh JF, Eisenberg I, Guitart-Masip M, Huys Q, Frank MJ (2013) Frontal theta overrides pavlovian learning biases. Journal of Neuroscience 33:8541-8548.

Guitart-Masip M, Barnes G, Horner A, Bauer M, Dolan R, Duzel E (2013) Synchronization of medial temporal lobe and prefrontal rhythms in human decision-making. Journal of Neuroscience33: 442-451.

Guitart-Masip M, Chowdhury R, Sharot T, Dayan P, Dolan R, Duzel E (2012) Action controls dopaminergic enhancement of reward representations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 109: 7511-7516.

Sharot T, Guitart-Masip M, Korn CW, Chowdhury R, Dolan RJ (2012) How dopamine enhances an optimism bias in humans. Current Biology 22: 1477:1481.

Guitart-Masip M*, Huys Q*, Fuentemilla L, Dayan P, Duzel E, Dolan R (2012) Go and No Go Learning in Reward and Punishment: Interactions between Affect and Effect. NeuroImage 62: 154-166.