Bio: Deborah Forster is an assistant project scientist in the Qualcomm Institute of Calit2 at UC San Diego and an affiliated faculty member of The Design Lab since 2015. She earned her Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego in 2012. She also earned a B.S. in Biology - Ecology, Behavior and Evolution in 1991, and an MSc in Cognitive Science in 1995, both at UCSD. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Machine Perception Lab and Calit2, and a researcher in Estudio Teddy Cruz from 2006 to 2016, and a researcher in the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TDLC) from 2009 to the present.
Research: Dr. Forster is involved with multiple Qualcomm Institute projects, including the Technology Enhanced Learning Initiative, Larry Smarr's Future Patient project, and the Big Pixel Initiative. At the same time, she is the interim leader of the Machine Perception Lab, guiding the RUBI project, and helping to extend the effort on pain detection in humans to automated pain detection in horses. Forster did design-context research at Nissan Design America studios for over half a decade, overlapping with a Nissan advanced engineering research project on Intelligent Driver Support Systems at UC San Diego. For the past decade she has developed interdisciplinary seminars as adjunct faculty at the Woodbury University School of Architecture and Design. Dr. Forster's original research emphasis, however, was in the field of cognitive science & primatology, when she did field research on social complexity and distributed cognition in Olive baboons (1989-91) as part of the Kenya-based Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project directed by UC San Diego Anthropology professor, Dr. Shirley Strum. Forster also engages in various art-science collaborations, most notably with media artist Rachel Mayeri, a Professor in Harvey Mudd College, in her Primate Cinema projects. Last summer Forster and Mayeri was awarded a month-long residency - Scientific Delirimum Madness 2- at Djerassi Art Residency in Northern California.