Research‎ > ‎


The flexibility of the peripheral taste system is a concept that has been receiving greater attention in recent years. For decades the gustatory system was believed to be incapable of doing anything but responding to sapid molecules with little direct influence over such processes as the control of food intake. It was generally thought that all the taste system did was to directive intake of appetitive stimuli (those that taste 'good') and elicit rejection of aversive stimuli (those that taste 'bad').  We now realize that the taste system shows a great degree of plasticity and appear to alter the responsiveness of taste signals according to dietary experience and nutritional need.

Our laboratory was one of the first to explore the plasticity of the taste system - showing that natriferic hormones elicited predictable changes in salt sensing pathways according to changes in salt and water balance.  This has reemerged as a theme in the laboratory where we continue to investigate differences and changes in nutrient (salt, sweet, fat) responsive pathways as a result of ones genetics, their dietary choices and their nutritional or disease (obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome) state.

This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health - National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders