CATSS Newsletter - Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science
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CATSS Newsletter

December 2020


Peggy NelsonWho could have predicted where we find ourselves in Fall 2020?  I’m certainly hoping that this newsletter finds you well enough, and that we’re all starting to hope and plan again for the future.  We’d like to provide some updates about events in CATSS with this short newsletter. Please contact me ( if there’s anything I can do for you.

Most of us have learned how to work from home. Our teaching happens remotely from our home ‘offices’ (mine is a spare bedroom for which my talented woodworking husband built a custom live-edge desk).  We’re at the mercy of our internet providers, and for the large part this has gone well.

Many of us have learned to do some research from home as well. A few projects are underway in the CATSS facilities, using the best distancing and hygiene measures we can devise.  My own work is done now via zoom and other remote communication methods, still focusing on the social and interpersonal effects of hearing loss.

Several of our projects will have presentations at a virtual conference next week: Acoustics Virtually Everywhere ( At my last count, more than 20 presentations by CATSS members and students will be given at this meeting where we expect over a thousand virtual participants.

Soon more of us will be making plans to get back into the lab, and we’ll send some updates then.  Until then, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and that we’ll see and hear you in person and in 3-D in 2021.
Peggy Nelson

So Long, Farewell...

When I decided about a year ago to scale back on work, I never dreamed that a pandemic would send us all home anyway! It made for an anticlimactic departure from Elliott Hall and CATSS this past June, and I regret not having had a chance to say goodbye to many of you.
I started working in CATSS in January 2016, not long after its inception. I had returned to Minneapolis in 2014 after a post doc stint at Univ of WA in Seattle and had taken a position with a small medical device company in the Twin Cities, but I sorely missed the academic environment. So when Peggy Nelson told me that a position with CATSS was being created, I jumped at the opportunity to apply.
I joined the team first as a half-time Project Manager, later increasing my presence as I assumed the role of Program Coordinator for the NRT Grad Training Program in Sensory Science. In that time, I have watched CATSS grow from an idea into a thriving research center focusing on real-life questions. I have seen raptors get their hearing tested to help determine why they sometimes fly into wind turbines, and seen humans have their balance evaluated while experiencing the type of infrasound energy emitted by those same wind turbines. I’ve seen effective reading technology being developed for those with visual problems due to macular degeneration and witnessed research with the first retinal implant patients to help understand what they see.
Working in CATSS has been a privilege — world-class scientific inquiry and a veritable smorgasbord of sensory science research, coupled with affiliations with local sensory loss communities and industry partners. Working alongside Peggy, Andrew, and Gordon has been an extraordinary and rewarding experience. The mission of CATSS as a hub that fosters connections among scientists, the sensory loss communities, and device manufacturers, is unique and is a real asset to the University of Minnesota. But CATSS is also a place where smart, kind, and diverse people connect on a human level, and I will miss that most of all.
I’m not throwing in the towel altogether yet! I will continue to work part-time at UMN as a research audiologist on the ACHIEVE study, through the Dept. of Epidemiology and Community Health, as well as doing some consulting work. I intend to stay involved in education and outreach to older adults with hearing loss, and hopefully will stay connected in some capacity to CATSS and its mission of applying scientific rigor to real-life problems of those with sensory loss. I also look forward to spending more time on gardening, playing music (wooden flute and piano), horseback riding, running, biking, yoga, etc. etc. — and raising our new puppy, Corva.

Liz Anderson

 Liz sitting in an armchair with her puppy Corva on her lap

... And Hello


Rachel and her dog Wallace on the beach next to the riverI began working in CATSS at the start of 2020, about two months before the pandemic hit and we all were sent to work from home. While that wasn’t much time to get to know the members of CATSS, I look forward to working with everyone in the future. 

I started working for the Psychology Department in 2008, initially as an undergraduate research assistant for Gordon Legge, and I have continued working with him since then, most recently as a Researcher 3. In Gordon’s lab I have split my time between administrative duties and research studying navigation and reading difficulties encountered by people with visual impairments. I have worked in the north end of the basement of Elliott Hall for all 12 years in the department, but it will be nice to get to know the south end where CATSS is located as well.

I meet and work with many wonderful people through Gordon’s lab and I look forward to meeting more great people through CATSS as well.

Rachel Gage


New CATSS Website is Live!

The new CATSS website is now live! Please visit us at the same address:

We would like to give a big thank you to Silke Moeller for the development of the new website!
PHONE: 612.-624-7846 S30 Elliott Hall
75 East River Pkwy
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science · 75 East River Parkway · Room S39 · Minneapolis, Mn 55455 · USA

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