Since the start of my PhD (2004, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) I have been active in the field of olfaction. I have worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Monell Chemical Senses Center (USA), the world’s premier institute devoted to multidisciplinary research on the senses of smell and taste. I have expanded my research into eating behavior since 2010, when I started working at the division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, in the chair group Sensory Science and Eating Behavior. In 2011, I was awarded with a prestigious NWO-Veni grant, to investigate the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of odor-induced food cue reactivity. I was one of the first to demonstrate a sensory specific effect of odors on appetite, indicating that food odors may communicate information about the nutrient composition of foods. In 2018, I received an Aspasia grant, to further gain insight in the functionality of chemosensory signals for human eating behavior, in health and disease; as well as the AChemS Barry Jacobs Memorial Award for Research in the Psychophysics of Human Taste and Smell.
I am an active member of several chemosensory and nutritional organisations (AChemS, Pangborn), and co-founder of the Women In Olfactory Science (WIOS), and Netherlands Olfactory Science Exchange (NOSE) networks, as well as of the Dutch Smell and Taste Center (in collaboration with hospital Gelderse Vallei). Over the past years I have been country leader for the Netherlands as part of the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR), to investigate smell and taste loss in relation to covid-19.
My research mission is to explore the potential of sensory, to improve eating behavior and quality of life. The chemical senses, smell and taste, play an important role in flavor perception and food intake regulation, not only during consumption, but also in the anticipatory phase of eating. Within this framework, my group currently works on three major research lines: The influence of ambient odors on appetite regulation; Chemosensory changes and eating behavior in clinical populations; Flavor perception. With this work, we contribute to improving quality of life by promoting healthy eating behavior, not only focusing on nutritional content, but by creating and/or maintaining a pleasurable and rewarding eating experience.