CATSS Newsletter - Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science
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University of Minnesota: Driven to Discover

CATSS: Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science  
CATSS Newsletter
August, 2018




Come see us at the State Fair on Wednesday, August 29th, 3-9pm in the U of M Crossroads Building!



- By Peggy Nelson, PhD, CCC-A, CATSS Director

A bald eagle in CATSS.Work continues in CATSS during summer, though campus is pleasantly quiet and green.

We continue to collaborate with The Raptor Center on the eagle hearing project, and are now observing eagle behavior in response to sounds. We are grateful for the extensive collaboration that makes this project possible.

Work also continues with the St. Anthony Falls Laboratories on the effects of wind turbines on human perception. We are looking for a few participants who believe they may experience some motion sickness or other symptoms when near turbines.

We have these and other projects ongoing about hearing loss, balance disorders, and low vision.
If you'd like to participate in any of these projects, please contact us at


BUILDING ON SUCCESS: Expanding CATSS Research Facilities

CATSS was recently awarded a $100,000 infrastructure grant for its proposal, titled "Building on success: Expanding CATSS research facilities". The funds were requested to renovate Elliott Hall S41 (next door to CATSS) and expand the equipment available in CATSS. A sound-attenuated booth, eye-tracking system, and EEG system will be acquired for use in the new space.

The expansion will allow CATSS to better accommodate current lab users, as well as making CATSS facilities more accessible to additional researchers.



- By Doug Addleman

Doug AddlemanAs a graduate student in the psychology department at the U, I have mainly studied basic scientific phenomena, focusing on cognitive mechanisms of selective attention as well as high-level object recognition. However, CATSS's new translational sensory science training program (NSF-NRT) has allowed me to explore the applied side of sensory science, working on a project with Dr. Yingzi Xiong and others related to multimodal spatial perception in people with sensory loss. I've greatly appreciated working on problems with such clear applications to real-world problems.

Given how much I've enjoyed applied scientific research, I was happy to learn about the support the center and NRT program offered for students interested in seeking industry internships. CATSS faculty were integral in helping me set up interviews with multiple companies, including with 3M, where I am interning for the summer. I'm currently about a month into the internship, and I'm excited about both the project I'm working on-which involves high-tech navigation aids to enhance workforce efficiency-and the diverse range of people I work with, whose areas of expertise range from materials science to artificial intelligence. As a very large company, 3M provides opportunities to explore many interests; while most of my work involves user experience and software interface prototyping, I've also gotten to assist on data science and AI-related problems. I'm confident that this broad industry experience will prove valuable regardless of the career path I take in the future.



Liza SylvestreLiza Sylvestre is the co-founder of Creating Language Through Arts, an educational arts residency that focuses on using art as a means of communication when there are language barriers present due to hearing loss. In 2014 she was awarded both and Artists Initiative and Arts Learning grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Recently she has been the recipient of a VSA Jerome Emerging Artists Grant, a fellowship through Art(ists) on the Verge and an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

In her artist statement, Sylvestre says: Through my latest multidisciplinary work I explore the ways in which our senses alter our experience and perception of the world. I'm interested in how we use the intersection of our senses to communicate, and I approach this as an individual who is medically, although not culturally, deaf. My long, slow progression into deafness started when I was six years old and culminated in 2003, when I decided to undergo a cochlear implant surgery, which carved away some of my skull bone and muscle and placed a bionic computer-ear into the smallest crevices beyond my eardrum. I find that my definitions of "language" and "communication" are continuously shifting and are directly tied to my own ability to navigate these concepts with my disability.

The culmination of Liza's summer involvement with CATSS will be an art/science symposium, held at the Weisman Center on Sept. 13. The object of this event is for sensory loss scientists to gain first-hand experience from individuals with sensory loss. Sylvestre will set up scenarios through which people with both normal and impaired sensory function can learn from each other. Art is an effective object to facilitate this type of interactive learning; art is an experience that asks us to use our senses to observe and then to process those observations in the context of our life experiences, backgrounds, and knowledge. How does sensory loss affect the art experience? How does this translate to the "real world"? How do museum designs and public spaces exclude those with sensory loss? And what do we need to learn in order to do things better?

For more on Liza Sylvestre: CLICK HERE

You are invited to participate in an immersive event that will examine
how we perceive and communicate art through all of our senses.

How does an individual with hearing or vision loss experience art?
How can subjective experience or art inform sensory science?
What sort of science dialogue can we have within an art institution?
And how much do you really know about sensory loss experience?
Come and find out for yourself...

To register for this September 13th event at the Weisman Art Center: CLICK HERE
(Deadline to RSVP is Thursday, August 30th.)


CATSS on YouTube and Vimeo!

Find us on YouTube, or watch the videos on the CATSS website!


PHONE:  612-624-7846

S39 Elliott Hall
75 East River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN


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