Congratulates Doctoral Researchers on Their Successful Dissertations

Dissertation defenses completed in five CITEC research groups

In the past weeks, five CITEC researchers successfully defended their dissertations. CITEC extends its warmest congratulations the researchers and wishes them continued success in the future.

Christian Poth. Bild: Christian Poth/CITECChristian Poth’s dissertation is titled “Episodic Visual Cognition: Implications for Object and Short-Term Recognition,” and he completed his defense on 25 April 2017. Poth wrote his dissertation in the Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science and works in the Neurocognitive Psychology research group, which is headed by Professor Dr. Werner Schneider. Dr. Schneider evaluated Poth’s dissertation together with Privatdozentin Dr. Kathrin Finke.

Harsha Ramachandran (second from right). Photo: Harsha Ramachandran/CITECOn 19 April 2017, Harsha Ramachandran defended his dissertation titled “Short-Term Plasticity: A Neuromorphic Perspective.” In Professor Elisabetta Chicca’s research group “Neuromorphic Systems,” Ramachandran investigated the short-term plasticity in a synaptic mechanism. In his research project, plasticity circuits were designed and produced in a chip in an effort to make biological principles applicable to the construction of artificial nervous systems. Prof. Dr. Martin Paul Nawrot from the University of Cologne and Dr. Chiara Bartolozzi of the Italian Institute of Technology evaluated his work.

Alexander Schulz. Foto: Alexander Schulz/CITECAlexander Schulz successfully completed his dissertation project on 31 March 2017. Evaluated by Professor Dr. Barbara Hammer from Bielefeld University and Professor Dr. Paulo Lisboa of Liverpool John Moores University, Schulz’s dissertation is titled “Discriminative Dimensionality Reduction: Variations, Applications, Interpretations.” External evaluator Paulo Lisboa attended the defense via video conference from Liverpool. Currently, Alexander Schulz is working on the CITEC research project “Towards Cognitive Control: Transfer Learning for Robust Steering of Myoelectric Devices” in cooperation with the Christian-Doppler Lab for the Restoration of Functionality in the Extremities at the Medical University of Vienna.

Sebastian Zehe (second from right). Photo: Sebastian Zehe/CITECCITEC researcher Sebatian Zehe successfully defended his dissertation on 17 March 2017. Zehe conducted his doctoral research as a member of both the Cognitronics and Sensor Systems and Ambient Intelligence research groups and his dissertation is titled “BRIX – A Versatile Toolkit for Prototyping and Education in Ubiquitous Computing.” Professor Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Rückert and Dr. Thomas Hermann, both from Bielefeld University, served as Zehe’s evaluators.

Franziska Schaller (second from right). Photo: Franziska Schaller/CITECFranziska Schaller held an excellent dissertation defense on 10 February 2017. Her work is titled “Abstractness is Relative: Using Behavioral and EEG Data to Represent the Cognitive  Connection of Movement Observations and Language Comprehension.” She works in the Experimental Neurolinguistic research group, which is headed by Professor. Dr. Horst M. Müller. Her dissertation was evaluated by both Prof. Dr. Müller and Prof. Dr. Sabine Weiss. 

During Schaller’s oral defense, Professor Dr. Martina Hielscher-Fastabend acted as chair. In her work, Schaller uses the embodied language theory to examine to what degree the comprehension of abstract language with a reference to motor movement (e.g. “I drew the conclusion”) can be influenced by activating the motor cortexes of the brain before activating language comprehension. Her work demonstrated that pre-activation does make it easier to understand such sentences, which is comparable to observations regarding the processing of concrete motion-related language, such as “I pulled the hand break.”

Congratulations to everyone!