Monell Chemical Senses Center
Dr. Julie Mennella obtained a PhD from the Department of Behavioral Sciences at The University of Chicago in Chicago, IL. She subsequently did postdoctoral work on the transfer of volatiles from maternal diet to amniotic fluid and human milk at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. She joined the faculty there in 1990 where she is now a member. Her major research interests include investigating the timing of sensitive periods in human flavor learning and growth during breastfeeding and formula feeding; uncovering how children are living in different taste worlds than adults and their vulnerabilities to the current food environment as well as medication adherence; and the development of psychophysical tools to study individual variation in taste and flavor perception as related to genetic variation. In addition to her research, she founded a program at Monell Center that encourages under-represented minority high school and undergraduate students to pursue careers in science and medicine. Dr. Mennella has held a number of leadership positions in professional scientific societies and working groups at the National Institutes of Health and other international scientific and health organizations. She is the recipient of several grants from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed research papers and an internationally recognized speaker whose interest in neurogastronomy is to understand why we like the foods we do and how that impacts health and nutritional programming.