School pays tribute to Bruce Feldhusen, beloved building automation systems manager

December 15, 2021

The ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration community is mourning the loss of a beloved staff member, Bruce Feldhusen, who died recently following an extended illness.

“Bruce was a crucial member of the School of Earth and Space Exploration team, working behind the scenes to serve our community,” said Meenakshi Wadhwa, the school's director. “He made sure that our building and facilities were optimized so that we could all accomplish our work. He will be missed.” School of Earth and Space Exploration senior building automation systems manager Bruce Feldhusen School of Earth and Space Exploration senior building automation systems manager Bruce Feldhusen. Photo courtesy of the Feldhusen family Download Full Image

Feldhusen was the school’s senior building automation systems manager for the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB4) on Arizona State University's Tempe campus and was responsible for the daily operations of the building’s complex system of offices and laboratories.

“He was our building whisperer,” said Professor Ramon Arrowsmith, the school’s associate director of operations. “With his dogged attention to detail and problem-solving orientation, he was uniquely qualified to manage our building.”

In 2020, when ASU’s Facilities Management approved a hire to support the building needs of ISTB4, the building’s leadership team immediately reached out to Feldhusen because of his unique skill set and his prior experience with the building.

“Unlike all other buildings on ASU’s campus, ISTB4 has precision research infrastructure that is NASA-approved for building spaceflight hardware,” said Chris Skiba, who was Feldhusen's immediate supervisor and the school’s manager of research infrastructure. “The types of labs and clean rooms in ISTB4 require a sophisticated manual and computerized system that Bruce was expertly skilled at managing.”

In fact, Feldhusen's skill at managing the clean rooms became so integral that he was made an official space mission member by Regents Professor Philip Christensen, who leads instruments on NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex, Lucy and Europa Clipper missions.

“Bruce was extremely proud to be a part of the School of Earth and Space Exploration,” said Skiba. “He was particularly honored when Professor Christensen asked him to sign his name to team plaques representing people who worked on those space missions. I will never forget his smile when he felt a part of the team.”

School of Earth and Space Exploration Senior Building Automation Systems Manager Bruce Feldhusen with one of his favorite motorcycles. Photo courtesy of the Feldhusen family

While taking care of ISTB4 was a passion in and of itself for Feldhusen, he was also a master motorcycle mechanic. He could completely dismantle a motorcycle and rebuild it without a manual, YouTube or Google. He loved to tour the country on his motorcycles, and his dream was to tour the Alps someday on his bike.

“And if you were not feeling well, he was also a trained Reiki healer,” said Skiba. “Bruce was not only an amazing colleague, he was a true friend.”

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration


New research suggests origin of hallucinations, delusions experienced by people with schizophrenia

December 15, 2021

Though persistent hallucinations and delusions are defining characteristics of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders, their origins are unknown. But something as simple as a bunch of moving dots might suggest how it is possible to see and hear things that are not there.

Imagine looking at a black screen with moving white dots on it. At first, many dots move to the right. Then, after a short amount of time, they switch to moving straight down. Portrait of ASU Assistant Professor of psychology Gi-Yeul Bae. Gi-Yeul Bae, assistant professor of psychology at ASU. Download Full Image

“This task is simple, but not easy,” said Gi-Yeul Bae, assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University. “Because not all the dots are moving toward the same direction, you need to keep paying attention and detect when the motion changes direction.”

Bae and collaborators recently published a study in JAMA Psychiatry using this task. The study shows that people diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder had difficulties detecting motion changes that were easily reported by healthy control participants. This work suggests that hallucinations and delusions could result from the brain failing to update what is perceived based on new information, like a change in motion direction. 

“People with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder show different types of symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions, which are at a very basic level unusual perceptual phenomena,” Bae said. “This study tested the idea that hallucinations and delusions might happen because people fail to update perceptual information.”

The research team also measured the severity of psychotic symptoms experienced by the participants diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Symptom severity was positively correlated with how frequently participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder did not report motion changes. 

“The proportion of times a participant with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder reported the initial motion direction, and not the change in motion, was significantly correlated with how severe their symptoms were,” Bae said.

The research team replicated the experiment with participants recruited from Baltimore and New Haven, Connecticut. The findings were the same in both experiments: People with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were less likely to report changes in dot motion, unlike the healthy control participants.

“The replication of these findings provides strong evidence that sensory hallucinations and delusions might be rooted in a failure of updating perceptual evidence,” Bae said.

This study was a collaboration between the ASU Department of Psychology; University of Maryland School of Medicine; University of Chicago, Illinois; Yale University; and the University of California, Davis.

Science writer, Psychology Department