We are a small research team embedded in the lab for cellular mechanisms of learning and memory at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research: FMI in Basel


Andres De Vicente – PhD student

Andres was born in Valencia, Spain, where he obtained his medical doctor. During the first years of his studies, he discovered his interest in the basic biological questions regarding how the brain operates. This was reinforced during his clinical training, as he realised the limitations of current treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases. He combined his studies with training in basic neuroscience at the University of Basel, the Technical University of Dresden, and the University of Valencia. Andres completed lab rotations at the University of Basel within a Biozentrum PhD Fellowship before he joined the team as a PhD student in July 2023 to study information transfer between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex – trying to understand its role in decision-making. His long term-goal is to help unravel how the brain can process multiple sources of information about the inner and outer world and generate a coherent output that maximises success. Ultimately, Andres would like to apply his knowledge to further our understanding of brain disorders and develop highly targeted intervention methods to restore normal brain function.


David Ruel – Research Assistant

David completed his PhD in mosquito chemical ecology in the lab of Prof. J. Bohbot (Hebrew University, Israel). After these four years working on receptors expressed by sensory neurons, he joined the team in 2022 as a Research Assistant. David explores the functional connectivity between basolateral amygdala and the prefrontal cortex through an ambitious approach combining in vitro whole-cell patch clamping in acute brain slices and optogenetics.


Mathias Mahn – Team leader

Mathias has always been fascinated by neuronal networks, specifically how information is transferred between brain regions. He studied biology in Konstanz and neuroscience in Munich for his BSc and MSc. Realizing how limited our capabilities to interface with neurons were at that time, he started working on designing and characterizing light-gated proteins for neuronal activity control during his PhD with Ofer Yizhar at the Weizmann Institute in Israel.

Since 2018 he is working with Andreas Lüthi, first as a postdoc and starting 2023 leading an independent research project on valence in decision-making as an SNSF Ambizione fellow.

Mathias is a committee member of the Basel Postdoc Network, a really nice framework that increases the interaction of postdocs across the different universities, research institutes, and companies in Basel. If you are a postdoc in the Basel area, you should definitely check it out!


Nikolaos Armeniakos – PhD student

Nikos studied Medicine at the Democritus University of Thrace, in Greece. During his studies, he developed a strong  passion for gaining a mechanistic insight into the function of neuronal circuits and how their dysregulation leads to maladaptive behaviors observed in psychiatric disorders.  Motivated by this ambition, he pursued neuroscience
research traineeships in Greece (Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens), London (King’s College London) and Boston (Harvard Medical School), before joining the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel for his PhD. There, as a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds fellow, he works under the supervision of Mathias Mahn and Andreas Lüthi to understand how circuits in the amygdala, a key-region of emotional processing in the brain, compute value-based decisions and drive adaptive behaviors.