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Our Vision...
CATSS Overview Video (YouTube)

The vision of CATSS is to harness the University of Minnesota's world-leading scientific expertise in sensory science to tackle the problems faced by millions of people with sensory deficits, such as low vision or hearing loss. With our aging population, sensory deficits that cut people off from their social and physical environment will have an increasingly devastating impact at both the individual and societal levels.

Our vision will be achieved by combining the forces of scientists, clinicians, and engineers from the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic with the strong medical devices industry already present in the metropolitan Minneapolis area. The University of Minnesota has committed substantial funds and resources towards founding CATSS, and it officially opened in July 2015. To ensure its long-term success, CATSS will earn support from industry, government, and foundations to support its ongoing mission through applied and translational research projects that lead to tangible improvements in our quality of life.

Our Goals...

The primary goals of CATSS are to provide leadership in doctoral and post-doctoral training in translational sensory science, to facilitate interdisciplinary research and grant funding, and to enhance collaboration and outreach to the medical-device industry and the general public. Key activities will include:

  • Federally-funded interdisciplinary training grants for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students.
  • Internships of students for research in medical industry or clinical settings.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities on problems with direct real-world application.
  • Interdisciplinary grant submissions in cross-over areas such as adaptive technology and prosthetics.
  • Seed funding for students and faculty with translational ideas to develop pilot projects.
  • Support for joint research facilities on campus.
  • Centralized support for human subjects recruitment, database management, and IRB compliance.
  • Interdisciplinary graduate seminars and colloquia.
  • Thematic workshops in crossover areas of joint interest such as assistive technology, neuroimaging, sensory prosthetics, sensory adaptation, developmentally sensitive periods and aging.
  • Outreach to the community concerning research relevant to sensory disabilities.

Our Supporters...

Ongoing support for CATSS is received by The Office for Vice President for Research (OVPR) and MNDrive, The College of Liberal Arts, The College of Science & Engineering, and The Academic Health Center. The MSP Lab and its expansion/renovation was supported by an OVPR Research Infrastructure (I3) Grant, The College of Liberal Arts, The College of Education and Human Development, and the Departments of Psychology and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences.

CATSS also receives support from our industry partners: Envoy Medical, GN ReSound, Sonova, and Starkey Hearing Technologies.

Envoy MedicalGN ReSoundSonovaStarkey Hearing Technologies


Building Vibrant Communities that Enhance Human Potential
and Collective Well-Being in a Diverse and Changing Society

Tens of millions of people around the world live with significant sensory loss that affects daily function, including hearing loss, vision loss, balance dysfunction, and tinnitus. The numbers are increasing as our population ages. Emerging technology is significantly improving the lives of those with sensory loss, and access to technology is changing, with the rapid growth of smart phones and wearable devices. These improved technologies and access models can lead to important cost-effective opportunities for people in both developed and developing communities. The University of Minnesota is at the forefront of cutting-edge science, technological change, and improved models of access.

The Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science (CATSS) is an interdisciplinary enterprise focused on enhancing the capability and well-being of persons with sensory loss by translating fundamental scientific research to functional and accessible devices and therapies that can maximize quality of life for those with auditory and visual loss.

Faculty members of CATSS are individually at the forefront of their fields, with NIH, NSF, and other external funding for individual research grants. Several individual faculty members are already in partnership with area industries and agencies, demonstrating our potential for collaborative work to strengthen the connection between community, research, and industry. The infrastructure provided by CATSS allows us to work together on interdisciplinary and multi-sensory projects that would otherwise be challenging, and allows us to have a much greater partnership with both industry and the community.

CATSS will also provide unique interdisciplinary research opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students through participation in interdisciplinary research projects, colloquia, and internship opportunities.

The University of Minnesota has outstanding strength in both vision and auditory research. The University may be unique in its richness and capability for transdisciplinary research in these areas. CLA faculty are involved in top research and current collaborations with Academic Health (Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology), Engineering (especially Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science), the College of Biological Sciences (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior), the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, and The Medical Devices Center. The departments of Psychology and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences have a longstanding strong collaborative history together and with researchers and clinicians at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. In addition, the Twin Cities area is a particularly rich environment, having at least three major hearing aid manufacturers and other engineering firms working on technology for sensory loss. The Center will build on these strengths and allow for an expansion of our vision, visibility, and research capabilities.

Sensory impairment touches almost every family. Outreach to the community by CATSS will provide a method for informing the public about state-of-the art technology, rehabilitation, accessibility, and accommodations.


PHONE:  612-624-7846


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75 East River Parkway
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