What is your title and primary work area within Eriksholm Research Centre?
“I am a research engineer, primarily occupied with project management and EEG analysis within the area of brain research. I hold a bachelor of electronic engineering, a master’s in biomedical engineering, and a PhD in machine learning on EEG
What made you interested in the field of hearing?
“Several female members of my family have a hereditary hearing loss, a challenge that I might be facing myself. I originally considered studying either for veterinary or mathematics but growing up with relatively many family members being hard of hearing, I chose to specialize in biomedical engineering with interest in audiology.”
What brought you to Eriksholm, and when?
“I joined Eriksholm on November 1, 2014. I had been a researcher within the field of neuroscience for nine years, and I had a desire to learn more about how we can improve technology to compensate for hearing related challenges. And then I saw this job ad, where Eriksholm were looking for a scientist to focus on bridging neuroscience and hearing aids. Of course, I had to apply. I didn’t get the position, though, but it turned out I matched the requirements for a not yet publicized job as research engineer on the EU-funded COCOHA project, so I got to work at Eriksholm anyway. And, honestly, this position was even better suited for me.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
“In the early beginning of the COCOHA project, my mother participated in a pilot test where she could control which out of three talkers she would listen to, simply by looking at the person. Watching my mother’s reactions during that experience was breathtaking. Besides understanding everything that was being said in the rather challenging listening situation, her entire body language and facial expression changed completely, too. It was stunning how fantastic that experience was for her, and certainly also to me and my colleagues. It is situations like those that really confirm to us why we keep on doing what we are doing, constantly trying to improve life quality for people with hearing impairment. Seeing it work is a huge motivation
What do you do in your spare time, when you’re not working at Eriksholm?
“I have been a guide dog instructor for many years, training guide dogs for blind and visually impaired people. On average, I train two dogs per year. On top of that I have a dog of my own which is being trained for search and rescue to find people buried under rubbles after explosions or earthquakes.”
What are the three most important values in your life and why?
- “It is important to me to be able to contribute to making a positive difference to people who need it. That is what drives me, and the main reason for me to work with the things I do.
- Honesty. It is important to me that I can trust people, and that they always state their honest opinion.
- Being able to see things from several angles. To make an effort to find out where people are coming from, why they think the way they do, why they find some things hard, etc.”
What is the most exciting scientific breakthrough or invention in your time?
“The experience that has made the biggest impact on me, and the reason I’m sitting here today, was attending the EMBC conference 2012 in Boston, and seeing Preben Kidmose form the University of Aarhus demonstrating his Ear-EEG. Moving the measuring of EEG from a lab to the individual’s ear would be a huge breakthrough enabling us to monitor neural responses for neurological diseases, pain, pharmacology intervention, e.g. over a period and not just every time a patient visits the lab. That moment I decided that I wanted to work with Ear-EEG
What do you hope will happen in future science?
“I sincerely hope that people with deafness will be able to hear, that blind people will be able to see, that paralyzed people will walk, and so on, and that we will become much better at diagnosing and treat diseases.”