Francisco Contreras-Ruston

About meLG

I am from Chile and am currently conducting a joint PhD project at Maastricht University and the University of Barcelona, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Sonja Kotz and Dr. Jordi Navarra. I am a Speech Language Pathologist and Vocologist. I conduct scientific and clinical research using voice and speech measurements, behavioral methods, and neuroimaging methods such as EEG. I am currently doing research on voice feedback and voice motor control in Parkinson’s disease.

Research

 Voice adaptation and vocal learning

My PhD project aims to examine the feedback aspects of voice production, such as loudness, in patients with PD. Using EEG, and Voice measurements to ascertain differences in self-voice perception and voice motor action (voice onset).  I will adopt a multimodal design, and the project will include three cross-sectional studies, in healthy individuals and patients with PD. We expect that the efference copy in patients with PD will be affected; therefore, we do not expect the usual suppression in the early components of sensory evoked potentials. While the voice loudness of PD patients is increased, we expect, as a compensational mechanism, that the efferent copy related to suppression in sensory ERPs will be present. However, in healthy individuals, the opposite will be true. In voice measurements, we expect greater changes in high intensity. Possible results will provide neurobehavioral evidence of planning and voice onset in laryngeal functions for PD patients.

  • Voice behavior
  • Cognitive voice control
  • Self-voice perception
  • Voice motor control

Methods

  • EEG
  • Behavioural measures
  • Voice measures
  • Software: Matlab (Voice Analysis), Pyschopy, R-studio, SCL, PRAAT

Qualifications and Professional Experience

  • 2020-Current: PhD CandidateResearcher in the Department of Brain, Behavior and Cognition at University of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) and 2021 in the Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology at Maastricht University (Maastricht, Netherlands)
  • 2019-2020: Master’s in research cognition and Behavior at University of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
  • 2018-2019: Speech Language Pathologist and Supervisor of professional practice of voice unit at Chilean League Against Parkinson’s disease (Santiago, Chile)
  • 2015-2019: Lecturer and supervisor of professional practice of voice unit at University of Valparaiso (Valparaíso, Chile)
  • 2014-2015: Voice Specialization at Centros de Estudos da Voz (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
  • 2009-2011: Bachelor of ArtsDegree in Speech and Hearing Sciences at University of Valparaiso (Valparaíso, Chile)

For more information, please send an email to fco.contreras.ruston@gmail.com