M. Sebastian BAEZ LUGO

PhD Candidate

H8-03 162.177 (Campus Biotech)
+41 22 379 0998

My thesis aims at understanding how socio-emotional reactivity is represented in the ageing brain. The project is mainly focused on empathy-related mechanisms along with emotion regulation processes. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), psychophysiological measures and personality traits, I am investigating the temporal dynamics of brain activity during and after emotional events. I am also exploring to what extent such emotional processes are related to health- and disease-related (Alzheimer’s disease) biomarkers in ageing. Understanding emotions and emotional long-lasting effects in elderly people may help to develop new approaches to measure and treat affective and social disorders that may co-occur along with cognitive decline.

My research is being done in the context of the Medit-Aging project (public name Silver Santé Study;, a European research investigating different factors of mental health & well-being in the ageing population. In collaboration with researchers from different parts of Europe, we are assessing the effectiveness of different interventions including meditation training and learning a foreign language on healthy ageing. This project has a key focus on mental health and well-being including Alzheimer’s disease and its mechanisms.


Research Expertise :

- Statistical data analysis, modelling and visualization (R and Matlab)

- Analysis and preprocessing functional and anatomical MRI images (EPI, T1, T2, T2*) using SPM

- Data acquisition for fMRI experiments

- Acquisition and preprocessing of psychophysiological data (Heart rate, Skin conductance)

- Brain mapping (SPM, Mango, MRIcron, XJview)

- Programming scripts for running experiments (Cogent)


Poster and oral presentations:

-Baez S., Vuilleumier P., Klimecki O. : Witnessing others' suffering is related to changes in subsequent brain activity and connectivity in old age. Understanding others Integration of Social Cognitive and Affective processes. Munich, Germany 2019

-Baez S., Klimecki O., Vuilleumier P. : Carry-over effects of empathy for suffering in the brain activity and connectivity of elderly people. Alpine Brain Imaging Meeting. Champery, Switzerland 2019

-Baez S, Vuilleumier P, Klimecki O. : Exploring the neural network of empathy and its modulation in the ageing brain. Interdisciplinary research workshop on “Cognitive Reserve”. Geneva, Swtizerland, 2018

- Koush Y., Baez S., SajA., Scharnowski F., Van De Ville D., Vuilleumier P. : Improving residual vision in cortically blind patients using real-time fMRI neurofeedback. Organization for Human Brain Mapping (2017), Vancouver (Canada).

-Baez S, Vaessen M, Vuilleumier P. : Using cognitive reappraisal to down-regulate Sadness: An fMRI and psychophysiological study. Alpine Brain Imaging Meeting , Champery 2016