Saskia M. Waechter
– Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from University of Technology Ilmenau, Germany, in 2013
– Master of Science in Bioengineering from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, in 2014
– Previous work experience in biomedical industry in the fields of managing medical data bases (Siemens Healthcare, Germany) and noise & artefact reduction in myoelectrically controlled upper limb prostheses (OttoBock Healthcare, Germany).
PhD theme: “Investigation of objective electrophysiological measures for temporal auditory processing abilities in cochlear implant users.”
Motivation for research
The Cochlear Implant is the most successful neuro-prosthesis worldwide and enables people with severe to profound hearing loss to hear again. However, the implantation surgery isn’t the magical cure by itself- a lengthy fitting process follows the surgery. Over several months parameters are adjusted to find optimal settings. This fitting process is based on patient feedback, which is no problem in adults, but nowadays patients are implanted as young as 6 months, hence feedback can be unreliable or missing. This is why the Cochlear Implant group in Trinity College Dublin is investigating methods to non-invasively extract objective feedback from the patients’ brain activity.
Research questions being addressed:
– What type of auditory stimuli can be used to assess temporal processing abilities?
– How are slow amplitude fluctuations processed and how does this processing ability impact on speech perception?
– Are amplitude modulation depth detection abilities related to speech perception abilities?
– Are slow amplitude modulation detection abilities reflected in neurophysiological event-related potentials (ERPs) such as the mismatch waveform (MMW) or the acoustic change complex (ACC)?
– How should stimuli be adapted to different participant groups due to differing maturation stages of the brain in infants, teenagers, adults and older adults?
– A top-down approach moving from multi-electrode measurements to single-channel recordings of EEG for a clinical environment: What information can be retrieved from multi-channel recordings and which challenges (signal processing etc.) arise when the same information is intended to be retrieved from single-channel EEG recordings.
MSc RESEARCH PROJECT
This video provides a brief insight into Saskia’s MSc research (2013/2014) investigating freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease. She succeeded to acquire EEG from a clinical population while stepping in place and while seated with a simultaneous visual oddball response task and evoked consistent event-related potentials.
Publications in International PEER-Reviewed Journals
 I. Killane, C. Fearon, L. Newman, C. McDonnell, S.M. Waechter, K. Sons, T. Lynch, R.B. Reilly; Dual Motor-Cognitive Virtual Reality Training Impacts Dual-Task Performance in Freezing of Gait; IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics; DOI 10.1109/ JBHI.2015.2479625; Available at URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org
 J. S. Butler, C. Fearon, I. Killane, S.M. Waechter, R. B. Reilly, Timothy Lynch; Motor Preparation Rather Than Decision-Making Differentiates Parkinson’s Disease Patients With And Without Freezing of Gait; Clinical Neurophysiology; DOI 10.1016/j.clinph.2016.12.019; Available at URL: clinph-journal
 S. M. Waechter, A. Lopez Valdes, C. Simoes-Franklin, L. Viani, R. B. Reilly; Depth matters - Towards finding an objective neurophysiological measure of behavioral amplitude modulation detection based on neural threshold determination; Hearing Research; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heares.2017.12.005
Conference Proceedings from International Conferences
 S.M. Waechter, C. Fearon, C. McDonnell, J.S. Butler, J. Gallego, B. Quinlivan, I. Killane, T. Lynch, R.B. Reilly; The Impact of Dual Tasking on Cognitive Performance in a Parkinson’s Disease Cohort with and without Freezing of Gait: An EEG and Behavioral Based Approach; 7th IEEE EMBS, Montpellier, France, April 2015; DOI: 10.1109/ NER.2015.7146813; Available at URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org
Poster Presentations at International Conferences
 C. Fearon, S.M. Waechter, J. Gallego, B. Quinlivan, N. McDevitt, B. Magennis, E. Harrington, J.S. Butler, R.B. Reilly, T. Lynch; Electroencephalography and Gait Analysis using Virtual Reality Environments in Freezing of Gait; 1st IFOG Conference, Israel, 2014
 C. Fearon, S.M. Waechter, R.B. Beck, J.S. Butler, J. Williams, S. Kelly, B.Magennis, T. Lynch, R.B. Reilly; Ambulatory Electroencephalography and Virtual Realit Environments in Freezing of Gait in Parkinson’s Disease; Irish Neurological Association Meeting, Belfast, UK May 2014.
 C. Fearon, S.M. Waechter, C. McDonnell, E. Harrington, J. S. Butler, T. Lynch, R.B. Reilly; Electroencephalography in Parkinson’s Disease Patients with Freezing of Gait while Stepping in Place; ISPGR World Congress, Vancouver, Canada, 2014
 C. Fearon, S.M. Waechter, J.S. Butler, C. McDonnell, I. Killane, S.Stoneman, B.Magennis, T.Lynch, R.B. Reilly. Attention and Motor Preparation in Freezing of Gait: An Evoked Potential Perspective. Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience Registrar’s Prize in Clinical Neuroscience. Dublin, November 2014. Winner, Research Prize.
 S.M. Waechter, C. McDonnell, J.S. Butler, J. Gallego, B. Quinlivan, I. Killane, T. Lynch, R.B. Reilly; The role of cognitive load on freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease: an approach based on EEG and gait analysis using a virtual reality environment; Neuroscience Ireland: Young Neuroscientist’s Symposium, Dublin, Ireland, 2014
 S.M. Waechter, A. Lopez Valdes, C. Simoes-Franklin, L. Viani, R.B. Reilly; Do speech-in-noise scores in normal-hearing humans correlate with amplitude modulation depth detection abilities?; Speech in Noise Workshop, Groningen, The Netherlands, 2016
 S.M. Waechter, A. Lopez Valdes, C.Simoes-Franklin, L. Viani., R.B. Reilly; Evaluation of the mismatch waveform elicited by amplitude modulated auditory stimuli as an objective measure for temporal discrimination abilities to aid future Cochlear Implant fitting; 39th Annual MidWinter Meeting, Association for Research in Otolaryngology, San Diego, 2016
 C. Fearon, J.S. Butler, I. Killane, S.M. Waechter, L. Newman, R.B. Reilly, T. Lynch. Motor Preparation and Decision-Making in Parkinson’s Disease Patients With and Without Freezing of Gait: An Event-Related-Potential Study. Irish Neurological Association Meeting. Limerick, Ireland, May 2016
 S.M. Waechter, A. Lopez Valdes, C. Simoes-Franklin, L. Viani, R.B. Reilly; Investigating the relationship between evoked potentials, amplitude modulation detection and SPIN recognition in CI users- a study design proposal and pilot data; Speech in Noise Workshop, Oldenburg, Germany, January 2017
 S. M. Waechter, A. Lopez Valdes, C. Simoes-Franklin, J. Smyth, L. Viani, R.B. Reilly; Preliminary results and challenges of artefact reduction in analysis of mismatch responses elicited by amplitude modulation detection in cochlear implant users; International Evoked Response Audiometry Study Group (IERASG) Biennial Symposium, Warsaw, Poland, May 2017
 S. Hablani, S. M. Waechter, Richard B. Reilly, (2017); Mismatch response versus acoustic change complex: Assessment of auditory temporal fine structure processing – finding an objective paradigm; International Evoked Response Audiometry Study Group (IERASG) Biennial Symposium, Warsaw, Poland, May 2017