Two Rising Leaders in Taste Science Join Monell Faculty

Released: 8-Oct-2012 1:50 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Monell Chemical Senses Center
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Newswise — PHILADELPHIA (October 8, 2012) -- The Monell Center announces the appointments of Ichiro Matsumoto, Ph.D., and Peihua Jiang, Ph.D., to the Center’s faculty.

“The addition of these outstanding young scientists to our faculty brings additional strength and breadth to Monell’s pioneering research program on the molecular biology of taste,” comments Monell Director Gary Beauchamp, Ph.D. “Each already has made important contributions to the field and we are fortunate to have them join our scientific staff.”

Jiang’s research utilizes his expertise in molecular neurobiology to explore two differing aspects of taste receptor structure and function. Both projects employ a broad range of approaches, including molecular, genetic, cellular, computational and imaging techniques.

One research arm seeks to identify and characterize human taste stem cells. These cells are the elusive progenitors for adult taste cells, which regenerate constantly across the life span.

A second focus looks to develop a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships among taste receptor structure, dietary choice, and associated metabolic pathways. Jiang’s work already has revealed that many mammalian species show a loss of specific taste qualities due to nonfunctional taste receptor genes. This loss of taste function appears directly related to a change in the animal’s dietary niche over time.

Jiang received his doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh. Before coming to Monell as a Research Associate in 2009, he held research positions at Redpoint Bio and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He recently was awarded a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to support his studies on the genetics of mammalian taste loss.

Matsumoto has made significant contributions to the understanding of the organization, relationships and connectivity of taste cells across a variety of vertebrate species. Other studies examine taste receptors, taste transduction, taste coding, gustatory neural pathways, gene expression in peripheral and central chemosensory systems, and clinical taste dysfunction.

A highly prolific scientist, Matsumoto has published over 50 experimental papers and more than 10 chapters and reviews. His honors and awards include the 2011 Young Investigator Award from the Japanese Association for the Study of Taste and Smell and the 2012 Ajinomoto Award for Young Investigators in Gustation from the Association for Chemoreception Sciences.

Matsumoto received his doctorate in functional genomics from the University of Tokyo and later was on the faculty at that institution. He joined Monell in 2009 as a postdoctoral fellow and is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health grant to develop new genetic tools to study the neural coding of taste.

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Monell advances scientific understanding of the mechanisms and functions of taste and smell to benefit human health and well-being. Using an interdisciplinary approach, scientists collaborate in the programmatic areas of sensation and perception; neuroscience and molecular biology; environmental and occupational health; nutrition and appetite; health and well-being; development, aging and regeneration; and chemical ecology and communication. For more information about Monell, visit www.monell.org.


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