This employee is no longer with the VTC Research Institute.

Ignacio Sáez

Ignacio Sáez, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Description of Work

I am interested in the study of human cognition, and especially in the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in valuation and decision-making mechanisms. I plan to combine a variety of experimental methods with computational models of reinforcement learning to study human neural activity in two main projects:

  • Sub-second electrochemical (fast-scan cyclic voltammetry) recordings of dopamine concentrations in dopaminergic target nuclei (primarily striatum) of human patients during a neuroeconomic task.
  • High-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of human midbrain nuclei (dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic) during a simple decision-making task.

I am also interested in the study of the social aspects of human cognition, which I plan to explore using simultaneous fMRI scanning (hyper-scanning) of multiple subjects engaged in a social task. The study of quintessentially human cognitive traits (complex behavioral repertoire, ability to value abstract rewards, sensitivity to social signals) will allows us to better understand how these affect a wide range of human activities, from social organization to education to economics.

Education and Training

  • Baylor College of Medicine: Postdoctoral fellowship
  • Baylor College of Medicine: Ph.D.

Previous Positions

Postdoctoral fellow, Baylor College of Medicine

Selected Publications

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Vitae and Related