The Monell Center

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The Monell Center
PHILA, PA 19104-3303
Contact Name: 
Jenifer Trachtman
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A leader in scientific discovery, the Monell Chemical Senses Center expands our fundamental understanding of taste and smell – the chemical senses – through research, training, and communication.

The Center’s cutting–edge research identifies the underlying mechanisms of taste and smell and probes their involvement in appetite, nutrition, and disease to benefit human health and well-being.

In its role as a nonprofit, Monell provides a comprehensive resource for information and serves as an unbiased authority on the science of taste and smell.

In the 1960s, very little was understood about the essential mechanisms and functions of what were then thought to be the “minor senses” – taste and smell. In 1967, the Ambrose Monell Foundation contributed $1 million to establish a multidisciplinary scientific institute dedicated to basic research on these senses.

Now, 50+ years later, the Monell Center’s research has dramatically increased scientific understanding of taste, smell, and chemesthesis (the third chemical sense, which mediates ‘chemical feel,’ such as the cooling of menthol, the tingle of carbonation or the burn of chili peppers). The Center’s scientific discoveries contribute significantly to a growing awareness of the central role that these senses play in human health.

Every day, Monell scientists make discoveries about how our bodies detect and respond to chemical molecules in the worlds within and around us. The Center’s work guides policies and inspires products that enable healthier diets, safer environments, and more powerful ways to meet pressing health challenges— from obesity to infectious diseases to Alzheimer’s dementia. 

Monell has a long, productive history as an independent partner to industry. Since its founding, Monell has created partnerships with industry that now serve as a model for mutually-productive academic-industry relationships. Read more here: 

To learn about smell loss and COVID-19, please visit: