One of the unique characteristics of the Monell Center is that researchers use multidisciplinary approaches to address scientific questions regarding taste, smell, nutrition, and their relationship to human health and well-being. The primary expertise of Monell investigators ranges from analytical chemistry and chemical ecology (Drs. Preti and Kimball) to biochemistry and biophysics (Drs. Brand and Margolskee), molecular and cellular biology (Drs. Margolskee, Huang, and Wang), genetics and neuroscience (Drs. Tordoff, Bachmanov, Beauchamp, Reed. Yamazki, Reisert, Gelperin, and Lowe), endocrinology and physiology (Drs. Margolskee, Teff, Friedman, Wysocki, and Zhao), psychophysics and behavioral science (Drs. Mennella, Dalton, Breslin, Lundstrom, Pelchat, and Wise), and clinical research (Drs. Cowart and Teff). Regardless of their primary technical expertise, a number of these laboratories have found it very useful to incorporate histology and cellular localization methods into their research programs (e.g.. Fig. 1)[1]. However, other Center laboratories are less familiar with the techniques and/or equipment involved in anatomical/histological studies. For instance, geneticists such as Drs. Reed and Bachmanov had identified candidate genes for taste receptors that detect the bitter-tasting compound phenylthiocarbamide and sweet-tasting compounds, respectively[2,3]. They needed to determine, first, whether these genes were expressed in the peripheral taste organs, and then, in which types of taste bud cells. These researchers could use reverse-transcripfion PCR with RNA extracted from taste tissue to determine if these candidate gene products are preferentially expressed in taste buds. However, to determine which type of taste bud cells express these genes, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry are mostly commonly used on taste fissures. This Core will provide a common resource and reservoir of experience in chemosensory anatomical analysis and state-of-the-art visualization techniques that would be inefficient to replicate in each individual laboratory. Thus, the availability of Core services would extend the capabilities of the participating laboratories beyond each laboratory's capabilities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Monell Chemical Senses Center
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