dr.ir. M (Monica) Mars

dr.ir. M (Monica) Mars

Associate Professor

Biography
My background is nutrition science, I studied Human Nutrition in Wageningen and specialized in epidemiology and sensory science. In 2004 I defended my Ph.D. thesis on the role of leptin in food intake regulation. After graduation, I have been working in several positions at the division of Human Nutrition (WU) and the Top Institute Food &Nutrition. Currently, I am working as an associate professor within the group of Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour (SSEB) of the section of Human Nutrition and Health (HNH).

Research interest
Non-nutritional properties, such as taste and texture, are essential in food intake, and despite the fact that the evidence for their role in food intake is growing, more fundamental (mechanistic) data and well-designed intervention studies are needed put these food properties on the (research) agenda of nutritionists. Potential opportunities for cooperation between food design and nutrition research need to be exploited better. Food technologists and nutritionists need to understand each others needs and drivers better by talking to each other and work together towards healthy and sustainable foods.

Three research lines
My research focuses on a better understanding of the relation between food properties, eating style, oral and gastric physiology, and human food intake. My research is structured in the following research lines:

  1. Better understand physiological mechanisms in cephalic, oral, and gastric responses to foods in relation to satiation and satiety
  2. Study effects of changes in eating style or food properties longer-term outcomes, such as food intake and weight status
  3. Assess relations between non-nutritional food properties with food intake and weight status
     

Within these research lines, I also develop and integrate new research techniques to measure eating behavior with digital tools (apps and sensors) and other novel approaches such as citizen science and big data.