Maria V. Sanchez-Vives
Research & Interest
Virtual reality is the successful replacement of the real world as a provider of multisensory information reaching our nervous system. Once immersed in a virtual environment, our brain responds to this fake reality as if it were real. However in this fake, virtual world, things may happen that change the rules from all previous experience that the brain has accumulated. In our laboratory we use virtual environments as a tool to understand how the brain creates an internal representation of the world and of ourselves.
In our studies we combine the immersion in virtual environments with different behavioural and physiological measures, including ECG, EEG and brain-computer interfaces.
We are particularly interested in the internal representation of the body and in how the input from different sensory streams sculpts such representation. We are also interested in the use of virtual environments in medical and therapeutical applications.
Maria V. Sanchez-Vives MD, PhD, has been ICREA Research Professor at the IDIBAPS (Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer) since 2008, where she is Head of the Systems Neuroscience group. She previously held a position as Associate Professor of Physiology and head of lab at the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante in Spain (UMH-CSIC). After obtaining her PhD, she was a postdoctoral researcher/research associate at Rockefeller University and Yale University (1993-2000) and was awarded during this period by NATO and American Epilepsy foundation. Her independent research on neuroscience and virtual reality has been supported by national and international agencies (Human Frontier Science Program and the EU) and she has been the supervisor of 14 completed PhD theses and 10 Master Theses. She has been a partner in 9 EU grants and currently is the coordinator of the FP7 project CORTICONIC and of the EU Consortium SlowDyn in the Human Brain Project. She has been President of the Program Committee of the Spanish Society of Neuroscience for the last 2 years and Chief Editor of Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience since 2013. Her interests include information processing in the cerebral cortex, body representation and the use of virtual reality from a neuroscience and medical perspective. MVSV has appeared in numerous interviews in the media and in several documentaries. Her publications can be seen on: