Marc Guitart-Masip

Title: Principal researcher

Sector: Psychology

Research group: Erika Jonsson Laukka

Portrait of Marc Guitart-Masip. Photo: Maria Yohuang.
Photo: Maria Yohuang.

Marc Guitart-Masip is a researcher at the Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden where he has established himself as an independent scientist. In parallel, he works as a Psychiatrist consultant at the Affective outpatients unit 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 was appointed Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet in 2018.

Four main research interests:

  1. To understand the role of the neuromodulator dopamine in the 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.
  2. To understand how the human brain encodes expectations about the world (prior beliefs) and how this information is combined with available information to guide decision-making.
  3. To understand the behavioural and neural adaptations in response to uncontrollable aversive stimulation and their relationship to depression.
  4. 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 ageing impact and eventually compromise cognitive abilities. This understanding will pave the road to the use of functional connectivity to predict cognitive function in health and disease.

He combines behavioural approaches, computational modelling, pharmacological manipulations and imaging techniques such as fMRI, PET and MEG.

Projects (PI)

Selected publications

* means equally contribution authors

de Boer L, Axelsson J, Chowdhury R, Riklund K, Dolan RJ, Nyberg L, Bäckman L, Guitart-Masip M (2019) 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:e26424.

Loh E, Kurth-Nelson Z, Berron D, Dayan P, Duzel E, Dolan R, Guitart-Masip M (2017) Parsing the role of the hippocampus in approach-avoidance conflict. Cerebral Cortex 27:201-215.

Guitart-Masip M, Salami A, Garrett D, Rieckmann A, Lindenberger U, Bäckman L. (2016) BOLD variability is related to dopaminergic neurotransmission and cognitive aging. Cerebral Cortex 26: 2074-83.

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

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.

Guitart-Masip M, Barnes GR, Horner A, Bauer M, Dolan RJ, Duzel E (2013) Synchronization of medial temporal lobe and prefrontal rhythms in human decision making. Journal of Neuroscience 33:442-451.

Beierholm U*, Guitart-Masip M*, Economides M, Chowdhury R, Düzel E, Dolan R, Dayan P (2013) Dopamine modulates reward-related vigor. Neuropsychopharmacology 38:1495-1503.

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.

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.