Homan Lab Zurich

Mental health research

Guest Seminar: Stefan Kaiser, MD


We are excited to host Stefan Kaiser as the next speaker this year in our remote seminar series. Stefan is an expert in negative symptoms in schizophrenia and the leader of the Clinical and Experimental Psychopathology Research Group at the University of Geneva. The seminar will take place on March 6, 2020, at 3:30 pm at the PUK Zurich, Z105.


Apathy is a common and debilitating negative symptom of schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders. While originally defined as an impairment of motivation, apathy has recently been defined as a quantitative reduction of goal-directed behavior. Treatment options for apathy remain very limited, in particular for patients with schizophrenia. In this talk I will present a research program that aims to develop a model for apathy that spans the phenomenological, process and neurobiological levels of description. Particular attention will be paid to recent research that has identified dysfunctions in specific processes underlying goal-directed behavior, including the generation of options for action, effort-based decision-making and reinforcement learning. On the neural level the most consistent association with apathy has been found for ventral striatal hypoactivation during the anticipation of rewards, but recent studies suggest a more general impairment of the coding of reward information. Overall, these findings are beginning to suggest potential targets for biological and psychological treatment approaches.

About the speaker

Stefan Kaiser studied medicine in Heidelberg (Germany), Lexington (US) and London (UK) and received his MD in 2001. He followed his post-graduate education in psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University Hospital Heidelberg where he also obtained his habilitation. From 2009 until 2017 he worked at the Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Zurich (Switzerland). Since march 2017 he is head of the adult psychiatry division at the Geneva University Hospitals and full professor at the University of Geneva. His scientific work focuses on the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, in particular apathy and disorders of motivation.


  • Date: 03/06/20
  • Time: 3:30 PM CET
  • Location: PUK Zurich, Z105
  • Host: Rahel Horisberger