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OnderwijsUniversity of Groningen Summer SchoolsMAPS


Groningen, 9 - 13 July 2018
General description

The MAPS summer school will combine contributions from researchers who study the sensory, neural, cognitive, and social aspects of the speech perception system. During morning sessions, established scholars will offer seminars on their research combining multiple disciplines in their approaches to speech perception. Afternoon sessions will consist of discussions and hands-on sessions about selected topics. One afternoon will also consist of a poster session, where students will have the opportunity to present their own research.


Prof. Anne Cutler
MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development, University   of Western Sydney, Australia;
MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, NL

Anne Cutler studied languages and psychology at the Universities of Melbourne, Berlin and Bonn, taught German at Monash University, but embraced psycholinguistics as soon as it emerged as an independent sub-discipline, taking a PhD in the subject at the University of Texas. Postdoctoral fellowships at MIT and Sussex University followed, and from 1982 to 1993 a staff position at the Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge. In 1993 she became a director at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, a post she held till 2013. She was also professor of comparative psycholinguistics at the Radboud University Nijmegen from 1995 to 2013, and, from 2006 to 2013, part-time Research Professor in MARCS Auditory Laboratories. In 2013 she took up a full-time position at the MARCS Institute.


Dr. Branislava Ćurčić-Blake
Faculty of Medical Sciences, University Medical Centre Groningen, NL

Branislava Ćurčić-Blake is a neuroscientist interested in brain connectivity in psychiatric and neurological diseases. She holds a PhD in Physics, and is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Neuroscience, UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands. She is specialized in brain connectivity in health and disease, including auditory verbal hallucinations and neurodegenerative disorders. She has extensive experience in data acquisition and analysis, both in humans and model systems. She is expert in state-of-the-art MRI data analysis, involving a variety of MRI techniques. Current research efforts focus on improving cognitive functioning in patients with multiple sclerosis and elderly people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), as well as auditory verbal hallucinations, in all cases using transcranial electric current stimulation.


Dr. Samuel Evans
Cognitive Clinical Neuroscience Research Group Department of Psychology, University of Westminster, UK

Dr. Samuel Evans is an assistant professor at the University of Westminster and an honorary research associate at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL. His work focuses on how the brain extracts meaning from spoken and visual languages. He uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and machine learning techniques to understand how neural systems are modulated by different kinds of language signal and perceiver groups.


Prof. Elia Formisano
Professor of Neuroimaging Methods, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University

Elia Formisano received his MSc degree in Electronic Engineering in 1996 from the University of Naples (Italy) and his PhD from the national (Italian) program in Bioengineering in 2000. Thanks to an outgoing grant, in 1998-1999, he was a visiting research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt/Main.  In January 2000, he was appointed Assistant Professor at Maastricht University (Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience) where he is now Professor of Neuroimaging Methods: Neural Signal Analysis. In 2008-2013, he has been Head of the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience. He is scientific director of the Maastricht Brain Imaging Center (MBIC), Principal Investigator of the Auditory Perception and Cognition group and Principal Investigator at the Maastricht Center for Systems Biology (MaCSBio).

His research aims at discovering the neural basis of human auditory perception, cognition and plasticity. He pioneered the use of ultra-high magnetic field (7 Tesla) functional MRI and multivariate modeling in neuroscience studies of audition. He is actively involved in methods development, focusing on algorithms for unsupervised and supervised learning. On these topics, he has published in high ranked journals, including Science, Neuron, PNAS, Current Biology.

Prof. Sonja Kotz

Head of Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, NL

Sonja A. Kotz is a cognitive, affective, and translational neuroscientist who investigates the role of prediction in multimodal domains (perception, action, communication, music) in healthy and clinical populations using behavioural and modern neuroimaging techniques (E/MEG, s/fMRI). She holds a Chair in Translational Cognitive Neuroscience at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, heads the section of Neuropsychology, is a Research Associate at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, has multiple honorary positions and professorships (Manchester & Glasgow Universities, UK; Leipzig University, Germany; Washington D.C., Georgetown University, USA; Montreal, BRAMS, Canada), and is currently the President of the European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. She works for multiple funding agencies in Europe including the ERC as well as a senior editor for leading journals in the field of cognitive neuroscience.


Dr. Shiri Lev-Ari
Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, UK

Dr. Lev-Ari is interested in how the social environment influences language processing and linguistic representations, with a particular interest in the role of people's social networks in the development of their linguistic skills. She investigates this topic using a combination of individual differences studies, experimental paradigms, and computational simulations.

Dr. Lev-Ari started her studies at the Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students at Tel-Aviv University, where she graduated with a MA in Cognitive Studies of Language Use. She then pursued a PhD in Psychology at the University of Chicago. Following her graduation she did a post-doc at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique in Paris, and worked as a staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. In 2017 she moved to the Psychology Department at Royal Holloway University of London as a Lecturer.


Dr. Helen Nuttall
Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK

I am passionate about speech, ears, brainstems, and brains. I currently work on establishing how motor brain areas work in concert with auditory regions to assist speech perception under challenging listening conditions. I study this question using several research methods: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which I combine with behaviour and neurophysiology, as well as electroencephalography (EEG). I also teach TMS on the international TMS Workshop for Cognitive Neuroscience ( ). In my PhD, I looked at how speech is represented in the subcortical auditory system using EEG, and how the subcortical representation of speech is modulated by peripheral and cortical influences. I am currently working on combining TMS with EEG to study temporal integration during auditory-motor connectivity when listening to speech in noisy environments. I am also an Honorary Lecturer at UCL.


Prof. Iris Sommer  
Department of Neuroscience, University Medical Centre Groningen, NL
Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Centre Utrecht, NL

Iris Sommer studied medicine in Amsterdam and Public Health in Maastricht. She obtained her PhD cum laude at University Utrecht in 2004 on brain imaging in schizophrenia. In 2011, Sommer was appointed Professor of Psychiatry at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, where she initiated the Voices Clinic. Currently, she is professor of cognitive aspects of neurological and psychiatric disorders at the Departments of Neuroscience in UMCG. Since 2016, she is visting professor at the Norwegian Center of Excellence, university of Bergen, department of medical and biological psychology. She received a Veni, Clinical Fellowship, Vidi and TOP grant from ZonMW and recently a large grant to study effects of antipsychotic maintenance treatment in early psychosis.

Professor Sommer was elected as a member of the Young Academy of the KNAW (Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences) and is a member of the Permanent Committee for Large Research Infrastructure at NWO. She is consultant to GABATHER, a small company developing new GABAergic treatment for psychiatric disorderd and a member of the Dutch Committee for Research Integrity (LOWI). She is associate editor of Schizophrenia Bulleting, Psychological Medicine and the Dutch Medical Jorunal (NTVG).

She published two popular science books. The most recent, Haperende Hersenen, became a national best seller. Sommer published over 250 articles on hallucinations, language, cognition, and psychosis. Her current research interest is related to the association between cognitive dysfunction and activity of the immune system. Her aim is to develop new treatment to support people with cognition deficits during their recovery of medical, psychiatric of neurological disorders.


Dr. Jaime Undurraga
Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Jaime Undurraga is a postdoctoral researcher at Macquarie University. He obtained his PhD in Biomedical Sciences in 2013 at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium. His research focused on investigating the polarity sensitivity of the auditory nerve by means of objective measures of peripheral and central neuronal activity in humans with cochlear implants. After obtaining his PhD, he moved to the UK and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at University College London (UCL) in the project entitled “Advancing Binaural Cochlear Implant Technology (ABCIT)”, supported by the European Commission under the Health Theme of 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Here, he investigated and developed new objective measurements (EEG recordings) of binaural processing in normal listeners and continued investigating objective measures in cochlear implant users. The results of this project led him to obtain the “New Investigator Award” at the 8th International Symposium on Objective Measures in Auditory Implants held in Toronto, Canada. In 2015, he moved to Australia to work as a postdoctoral researcher at Macquarie University. His current research projects involve investigating the basic mechanisms of electrical hearing, binaural hearing, and hearing loss.


Prof. Steven van de Par
Department of Medical Physics and Acoustics, University of Oldenburg, DE

Steven van de Par studied physics at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and received the Ph.D. degree in 1998 from the Eindhoven University of Technology, on a topic related to binaural hearing. As a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology, he studied auditory-visual interaction and was a Guest Researcher at the University of Connecticut Health Center. In early 2000, he joined Philips Research, Eindhoven, to do applied research in auditory and multisensory perception, low-bit-rate audio coding and music information retrieval. Since April 2010 he holds a professor position in acoustics at the University of Oldenburg, Germany with a research focus on the fundamentals of auditory perception and its application to virtual acoustics, vehicle acoustics, and digital signal processing. He has published various papers on binaural auditory perception, auditory-visual synchrony perception, audio coding and computational auditory scene analysis.

Local Speakers

Drs. Nawal El Boghdady

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, NL

Nawal El Boghdady is currently a PhD student in Deniz Baskent’s speech perception lab at the University of Groningen. Nawal’s research focuses on investigating differences in voice perception between healthy normal hearing and cochlear implanted individuals. Her research aims at finding techniques to improve voice sensitivity in cochlear implant users by optimizing the signal processing pathway in the implant.

After obtaining her BSc. in Electrical Engineering from the American University in Cairo, Egypt, Nawal received an MSc. in Computational Neuroscience from the Institute for Neuroinformatics (INI) at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Throughout her Master’s, Nawal developed a passion for acoustics from the work she did on speaker tracking using spikes from a neuromorphic silicon cochlea chip. To shift to more clinical research, she did her master thesis on neural modeling of cochlear implant coding strategies. Currently, Nawal is pursuing her PhD on improving the perception of vocal characteristics by cochlear implant users under the co-supervision of Deniz Baskent and Etienne Gaudrain.


Elouise Kopps

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, NL

I am a PhD student, currently working at the department of Otorhinolaryngology at the University Medical Center in Groningen. I have a background in Neuropsychology and Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences. In my projects during my PhD I am studying brain plasticity as a result of hearing loss and tinnitus. I am looking at differences in the functional response of the brain as well as the structural changes that are associated with hearing loss. In order to address if any changes that occur in the brain are specifically related to tinnitus, we use psychophysics and neuroimaging (such as (f)MRI, Resting-State and DTI) to compare people with hearing loss with and without tinnitus.

In addition to my research projects, I am involved in the TIN-ACT consortium as program manager. This EU project aims to unravel tinnitus by combining forces of molecular methods with genetic and behavioural research.


Benjamin Zobel
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, US

Benjamin Zobel received a Bachelors of Arts from New York University in film and television and worked as a sound designer for independent films before transitioning to the scientific study of auditory perception.  He is currently in his last year of the doctoral program in cognitive psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has also received a Master's of Science.  His research uses event related potentials (ERPs) to examine auditory processing in complex listening environments, including echo perception, spatial grouping of auditory objects, auditory attention, and speech detection.  Benjamin is a recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, and was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Opportunities World Wide fellowship to study the effects of aging on auditory perception at the University Medical Center Groningen. He is currently collaborating on a project in Deniz Bașkent’s Speech Perception Lab to study age-related differences in the benefits that spatial cues provide when listeners process relevant signals under challenging listening conditions.


Prof. Roelien Bastiaanse    
Professor Neurolinguistics, University of Groningen, NL and at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow

Roelien Bastiaanse is professor of Neurolinguistics at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands and at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. She is specialized in acquired language disorders and using linguistic knowledge to understand the neurological representations of language processing. She closely collaborates with neurologists, neurosurgeons, speech and language pathologists and clinical linguists, both at national and international level. Part of her work focuses on the application of neurolinguistic knowledge for clinical practise. For this, she works together with clinical partners and R&D partners, for example, ANT Neuro and eemagine GmbH.

Bastiaanse is director of the European Master’s in Clinical Linguistics (EMCL) and local director of International Doctorate in Experimental Approaches to Language and Brain (IDEALAB), two programs that received the prestigious label of excellence from the EU.

Last modified:04 May 2018 09.16 a.m.