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AChems Members in the News

In an effort to highlight chemosensory science and scientists, we welcome and encourage AChemS members to let us know about any of your chemical senses accomplishments. Please let us know about any contributions that have been recognized by a third party such as newspapers, radio, science news websites, etc. Send your information to the AChemS executive office (info@achems.org) to potentially be published on the AChemS website.

Remembering Gordon Shepherd, M.D., D.Phil. (1933–2022)

Professor Gordon Shepherd, M.D., D.Phil., was a pioneering neuroscientist who began studying the electrophysiology of simple sensory microcircuits in the olfactory system as a medical and graduate student. Dr. Shepherd’s work on the physiological basis of olfaction created a passion for understanding microcircuits and led him to establish novel ways to understand the computations carried out by single neurons and small networks.

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Olfactory receptors are not unique to the nose

The hundreds of receptors that give us our sense of smell have been found to have important roles in other parts of the body, and the prospect of targeting them with drugs is growing.

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Sniffing out smell’s effects on human behaviour

Olfaction could influence how people respond to threats or select a partner. To investigate, researchers need to design experiments that can capture its effects.

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Unpicking the link between smell and memories

The ability of aromas to bring back highly specific memories is becoming better understood, and could be used to boost and heal our brains.

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The science behind COVID’s assault on smell

The loss of the sense of smell has been a hallmark symptom of COVID-19. The mechanisms behind SARS-CoV-2’s ability to interfere with this sense — as well as why variants such as Omicron do so less frequently — are becoming clearer.

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‘Revelations in Air’ and the power of smell

Smell is a powerful and important sense that can transport us back in time to our favorite memories, keep us healthy and make meals taste delicious. But it’s often forgotten, under-appreciated, and still has lots of room for scientific exploration. Why do we have favorite aromas, or find certain odors particularly unpleasant? Do some of us have smarter noses than others? We’ll explore the weird, surprising, wonderful world of smell with Jude Stewart, author of Revelations in Air: A Guidebook to Smell.

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COVID cases once again on the rise in Virginia

“All researchers are trying to figure out as this COVID virus begins to mutate and we get different variants, what are the consequences?” said Dr. Richard Costanzo, professor emeritus in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at VCU Medical Center.

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Why it took nearly 100 years for umami to be globally accepted as a distinct flavor

About a hundred years ago, a Japanese chemist named Dr. Kikunae Ikeda set out to solve a mystery - what made the taste of the soup stock dashi distinct from other tastes like salty, sweet, sour and bitter? He ultimately distilled a single compound from the stocks' seaweed. It was glutamate. Yet it was only recently that the taste associated with that compound was commonly acknowledged in the West. Chloee Weiner and Emily Kwong at NPR's science podcast Short Wave pick up the story.

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Gov. Northam, leader of Virginia’s fight against pandemic, has had ‘long COVID’ for a year

He knew right away he had lost his sense of smell. One morning he stepped into the shower, and noticed his shampoo had no fragrance, even as he lathered it into his hair.
Almost half a year ago, Northam said publicly he had prolonged smell and taste loss following his mild illness. He intended that as a wakeup call for Virginians on the interminable consequences of the coronavirus. Vaccines, which weren’t available when he got sick in September 2020, are the best prevention, he said. But perhaps more surprising was when he recently brought up his symptoms again: Even now, more than a year since his case, he hasn’t regained those senses.

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Simple feeding tweak could give premature babies a taste of better health

Giving very premature babies a smell and taste of the milk they are being fed may help improve their brain development, groundbreaking research has found.

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Post-viral effects of COVID-19 in the olfactory system and their implications

The mechanisms by which any upper respiratory virus, including SARS-CoV-2, impairs chemosensory function are not known. COVID-19 is frequently associated with olfactory dysfunction after viral infection, which provides a research opportunity to evaluate the natural course of this neurological finding.

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Monell Center President and CEO Announces Plans for Stepping Down

The Monell Chemical Senses Center announced today that its current Director and President Robert F. Margolskee, MD, PhD, will be stepping down as Director by June 30th, 2022, after which he will remain as a part-time faculty member to complete several research projects in progress.

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Hundreds Reported Abnormal Menstruation After Exposure to Tear Gas, Study Finds

A scientific paper expands on social media reports of sudden onset of periods, spotting and other menstrual peculiarities during last summer’s protests in Portland, Oregon.

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Q&A: What Taste and Smell Tell Us During COVID-19 and Beyond

Nancy Rawson spent some time with the AWIS staff answering their far-reaching questions about her career in academia and industry studying the biology of taste and smell.

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Why lost sense of smell from COVID-19 is a serious threat to patients' quality of life

AChemS member, University of Florida Professor, and Editor-in-Chief of our society journal Chemical Senses, Dr. Steven Munger, raises awareness in a USA Today opinion piece about the importance of olfaction for our daily lives and how olfactory loss due to COVID-19 is a threat to patients’ quality of life.

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Some Covid Survivors Haunted by Loss of Smell and Taste

As the coronavirus claims more victims, a once-rare diagnosis is receiving new attention from scientists, who fear it may affect nutrition and mental health.

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COVID’s toll on smell and taste: what scientists do and don’t know

Researches are studying the sensory impact of the corona virus, how long it lasts and what can be done to treat it.

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