Scott Seidman

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Center for Visual Science

PhD, Case Western University, 1993

6-8543 Medical Center
(585) 273-2122
Fax: (585) 756-5334



Associate Professor Scott H. Seidman has been on the faculty of the biomedical engineering department at the University of Rochester since its creation in 2000. He earned his BS from Johns Hopkins and his MS and PhD from Case Western. His research interests include the detection of motion by the inner ear, and how this information is used by navigational and orientational mechanisms. Scott is co-director of the Technology Core of the Center for Navigation and Communication Sciences, funded by the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders, and helps disseminate technological development to other NIDCD cores. He has designed two laboratory-intensive courses, including the BME core course, Quantitative Physiology.  He also co-teaches the year-long undergraduate Senior Design sequence.

Scott’s engineering background is in bioinstrumentation and embedded devices. He has applied this expertise as co-inventor on two patent applications for medical devices, both in the area of neonatal monitoring. One of these devices comes directly out of a BME Senior Design Project, and he shares inventorship with four alumni of our design program and two UR Neonatologists. This device was recently awarded funding for further development from the University of Rochester Technology Development Fund, and is expected to attract future licensing. Another area of interest is assistive technology to help people with profound accessibility issues use computers, and he is currently working with a private company to bring a computer-based electronic musical instrument for people with high spinal cord injuries to the market.

He served as director of an international design educational initiative funded by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance in which students and faculty travelled between the University of Rochester and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) in Lima to identify global health needs of developing nations that could be addressed by the design programs of both schools. Seidman serves as the faculty advisor of the University of Rochester chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Research Overview

The vestibular system, through the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) maintains vision during angular (aVOR) and linear (lVOR) head movements by producing compensatory eye movements that stabilize images on the retina. The vestibular system also contributes to the perception of motion and orientation in space. Since the otolith organs serve as the body's transducers for acceleration information, they respond similarly to tilt with respect to gravity and linear accelerations experienced during translational motion, and are thus ambiguous. Failure to accurately differentiate these two types of stimuli (i.e., resolve the ambiguity) would lead to failures in behavior such as gaze perturbations, falls, and inappropriate percepts of movement and associated reflex responses (such as compelling perceptions of translational acceleration when lying prone, for example). Scott is investigating how the vestibular system differentiates these two forms of acceleration in both perceptual and eye movement systems in humans.

Further, the lVOR is kinematically demanding, requiring adjustment in the size stabilizing eye movements in response to a variety of geometric factors such as gaze angle and target distance. Scott is studying how the vestibular system incorporates this information into the eye movement response, and the capabilities and nature of adaptive control of such influences.