About me

Ronald Sladky is a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Vienna, Austria, at the Faculty of Psychology (Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology). He teaches courses on cognitive science and predictive processing. His research focusses on the amygdala as well as emotion processing and social cognition in the human brain. In addition, he is always working on new neuroimaging, data processing, and modeling methods. One of these new methods is real-time functional MRI, where people can learn to regulate their own brain states while they are inside the MRI scanner. This method is not only a promising therapeutic tool it will also allow for completely new ways for discovering how our brains work.

After studying computer science at the Vienna University of Technology, he was one of the first to finish the new interdisciplinary master program in cognitive science (MEi:CogSci) at the University of Vienna. Supervised by Christian Windischberger, he received a PhD and a 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 where he 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 and managing the University of Vienna MR Center.

 

Priv.-Doz. Ronald Sladky, PhD MSc BSc

ronald.sladky@univie.ac.at

 

Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience Unit
Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology
Faculty of Psychology
University of Vienna

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

 

 

Professional History

2018-present

Senior scientist. Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

University of Vienna, Austria
Faculty of Psychology
Department of Cognition, Emotion, and Methods in Psychology
SCAN-Unit (PI: Claus Lamm)

Focus. Neuroimaging, data analysis
Topics. Emotions, social cognition, empathy, and trust

2011-present

Adjunct lecturer. Cognitive science.

University of Vienna, Austria

2019

Adjunct lecturer. Cognitive science.

University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

2016-2018

Postdoc research fellow. Neuroimaging and Neurofeedback.

University of Zurich, Switzerland
Department 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

2009-2016

Predoc and 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

2009-2010

Teaching assistant. Cognitive science.

University of Vienna, Austria

2001

Military service

2000-2009

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

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. I cherish tasks that trigger my problem-solving instincts and working environments that help me in developing my potentials.

 

My past experience in academia and business have 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.