About me

Ronald Sladky studied Cognitive Science at the University of Vienna, Austria. Supervised by Christian Windischberger, he received a PhD and habilitation in Medical Physics at the Medical University of Vienna for his work on functional MRI methodology and brain connectivity. He spent two years as a PostDoc in Frank Scharnowski’s Lab in Zurich and was involved in real-time fMRI studies to investigate the applicability of fMRI-based neurofeedback training in patients with psychiatric disorders. As of 2018, he is a member of Claus Lamm’s SCAN Unit at the University of Vienna.

 

Priv.-Doz. Ronald Sladky, PhD MSc BSc

ronald.sladky@univie.ac.at

+43 1 4277 47132
Room O3.28, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Vienna, Austria

 

Professional History

2016-present

PostDoc research fellow. Neuroimaging and Neurofeedback.

University of Zurich, SwitzerlandDepartment of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Scharnowski Lab

Focus. Brain connectivity applications. real-time fMRI neurofeedback, software development.Topics. Affective disorders, pharmacological fMRI/DCM, brain connectivity, addiction, self-regulation

2012-2016

PostDoc research fellow. Neuroimaging.

Medical University of Vienna, AustriaCenter for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering
Windischberger Lab

Focus. Brain connectivity methodology and applications. fMRI methodology and task design.Topics. Social anxiety disorder, pharmacological fMRI/DCM, amygdala connectivity, ultra-high field fMRI/DCM, creativity research (EC-FP7 CREAM), aviation and flight safety (EC-FP7 MAN4GEN)Habilitation in medical physics. Investigating function and dysfunction of human brain networks using high and ultra-high field MRI

2014-2016

Adjunct lecturer. Medical physics.

Medical University of Vienna, Austria

2014-present. PhD Seminar: Advanced MR-based Brain Mapping Methods.2014-present. Journal Club: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.2015-present. Medical Physics Laboratory Training.

2011-2016

Adjunct lecturer. Cognitive science.

University of Vienna, Austria

2011. Seminar – New trends in cognitive science.

2012-2014. Journal Club: Investigating brain and mind myths with science.

2013-2016. Philosophical Theological Biological Seminar (Department for Life Sciences)

2015-2016. Journal Club: The free energy principle: The brain as a phantastic organ.

2009-2010

Teaching assistant. Cognitive science.

University of Vienna, Austria

2009. Into research lecture series.

2010. Master students’ seminar.

2001

Military service

2000-2009

Software engineering, web and multimedia development, consulting, entrepreneur.

(Part-time) Employment. Magna Steyr ECS (2000), IPC Webdesign (2002), VOEST Alpine (2003), Studio Bendl (2007-2008), reactive design (2004-2006)

Service contracts. Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna, Navarro, RICS, TietoEnator, moremedia, netactive.

 

Education

2009-2012

PhD program in medical physics.

Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Supervisor. Prof. Christian Windischberger

Focus. Functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Topics. Social anxiety disorder, sexual steroid hormones, fMRI methodology.

Methods. High-field MR image acquisition (Siemens TIM Trio 3T, Siemens Magnetom 7T), fMRI paradigm development, fMRI image processing and analysis (SPM), and dynamic causal modeling (DCM).

Thesis. Investigation on the neurobiological correlates of social anxiety disorders (SAD) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

Completed in September 2012 with distinction.

2006-2009

Master program in cognitive science (MEi:CogSci)

University of Vienna, Austria

Focus. Behavioral biology, philosophy of mind and neuroscience.

Topics. Philosophy of mind, consciousness, self, free will, evolutionary psychology, epistemology, modeling and simulation.

Mobility. Two semesters abroad in Ljubljana (Slovenia, EU) at the Department of Philosophy and the Medical Faculty in 2007/08.

Thesis. Schopenhauer’s Last Will: Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy of mind in the light of current topics in Cognitive Science.

Completed in March 2009 with distinction.

2002-2006

Bachelor program in computer science

University of Technology, Vienna, Austria

Topics. User interface design, human computer interaction, computer graphics, web engineering, medical informatics, and information visualization.

Completed in March 2006.

1993-2001

High school for natural sciences and mathematics.

Bundesrealgymnasium Michaelerplatz, Steyr, Austria.

Completed in June 2001 with distinction.

 

Research Interests

Phenomena Amygdala-prefrontal connectivity, emotion regulation, self-efficacy, psychiatric disorders (affective and anxiety disorders), predictive coding and the free energy principle
Methods (Ultra-)high field functional MRI, fMRI neurofeedback, dynamic causal modeling

My general approach is radically interdisciplinary: I utilize empirical approaches from natural sciences, apply formal models from data science, have learned integration and differentiation from philosophy, and combine it with the pragmatism of an engineer.

Motivation I try to keep my life interesting and challenging. Therefore, I cherish tasks that trigger my problem solving instincts and working environments that help me develop my potentials.

My past experience in academia and business, has taught me to become an enduring and independent individual and reliable and competent team player. I find it easy to teach and lead younger colleagues. While I consider myself polite and easy-going, I am also not shy to form and defend an informed opinion on my own.

My driving motivation is pushing the boundaries of my knowledge, learning and understanding novel things, and finding new aspects in things I assumed to know already. For this reason, I left the well-paved path of my IT business career and turned to science. I strive to understand what makes us who and what we are by learning to understand the mechanisms and functions and dysfunctions of the brain.

To inquire how all these wonderful and wondrous mental properties can emerge from a lump of interconnected tissue, is a very good reason to get out of bed in the morning, if you ask me.

 

Awards and Prizes

2013, 2014, 2015 Organization for Human Brain Mapping
Abstract Merit Award
3,600 USD
2010-2013, 2015 Österreichische Forschungsgesellschaft (ÖFG)
Travel Grant – International Communication
2,400 EUR
2011, 2012, 2013 Interdisciplinary College, Günne, Germany
Poster Award
2011 Science Slam Vienna (Winner)
Ins Hirn Einischaun (Lookin’ into the brain)

 

Professional Activities

Reviewer Brain, Cerebral Cortex, SCAN, NeuroImage, Biological Psychology, Brain Connectivity, Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, Journal of Affective Disorders, AJNR
Board

Interdisciplinary College, Günne, Germany

Executive Board 2014-2016, Faculty 2016

Talks
(selected)
2016. Interdisciplinary College, Günne, DE (invited)
Lecture. The Brain as a Phantastic Organ: Applications of the Free Energy Principle in Cognitive Science and Neuroimaging
4 Sessions, 1.5 hours. Cognitive Science, Neurobiology, Computational Neuroscience.
2015. Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Honolulu, USA2015. OHBM Alpine Chapter Symposium, Vienna, AT (invited)2014. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, USA (invited)

2014. Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Hamburg, DE

2014. Computational Psychiatry Meeting, Zurich, CH

2013. Multiconference, Cognitive Science, Ljubljana, SI (invited)

2013. Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Seattle, USA

2011. European Psychiatric Association, Vienna, AT

Supervision Alumni. Lora Minkova (currently: PhD position at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

Current. David Willinger and André Hoffmann (Cognitive science MSc student)