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Bio Major’s Eyes Wide Open at RIT Center for Imaging Science

Published on July 21, 2014

• Research experience at Susquehanna pays big dividends

Susquehanna University's Austin IovoliAustin Iovoli, a rising senior at Susquehanna University majoring in both biology and philosophy, is a man on the move. Iovoli, from Victor, N.Y., runs the steeple chase event for the men’s track team. He’s applying to medical schools, and he’s drawing on his internship experience last summer at Susquehanna to help this summer with emerging research related to eye tracking at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Carlson Center for Imaging Science. The center is a leading research facility dedicated to pushing the frontiers of imaging in all its forms and uses.

Tell us about your internship:

“Our lab is working on visual perception using eye trackers and virtual reality. The main project I’m working on is the latency test for our lab’s motion capture system. The way we collect data in the lab is to use active marker motion capture systems. You hook up objects or people with LED markers that emit infrared light that’s then picked up by cameras mounted around the edges of the room. That sends orientation and position data to the server. We’re able to synchronize virtual objects with these physical objects attached to the markers. The latency test inspects what the lag time is for when you move an object in the physical world to when it moves in the virtual world. This is really important to the lab because a lot of the experiments involve eye trackers, which work on an order of magnitude of milliseconds. It’s really important to know that you’re getting accurate data when you’re modelling natural behavior by having a low latency period.”

Susquehanna University's Austin IovoliHow has Susquehanna prepared you?

“Last summer I performed research as part of the Research Partners program at Susquehanna with Dr. (Jack) Holt [professor of biology]. I was exposed to a lot of imaging technologies that I’m working with now, like the scanning electron microscope. Experiences like that and learning about research methods and procedures, how to work full time as a researcher, how to think out of the box and overcome challenges that come up, and how to put together a presentation have definitely helped me ease into this experience.”

Describe the undergraduate experience at Susquehanna:

“I think it’s huge that undergraduates are able to do research at Susquehanna. Especially in the sciences, a lot of graduate and postgraduate opportunities involve research. The main purpose of grad school is to dive into an issue more in-depth. Having the background and experience to go into a lab is huge.”

Why did you come to Susquehanna?

“I was really attracted to the smaller school. I knew I wanted to be pre-med and I love the brand new Natural Sciences Center. I also wanted to run Division III cross country and track and fit into a team that I could make a difference on. It’s a beautiful campus and it’s worked out perfectly.”

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