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Monell Chemical Senses Center
GROUP 37.jpg
Monell and members in 2004
Established 1968
Director Gary Beauchamp
Location Philadelphia
Address 3500 Market Street

The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent scientific institute, established in 1968, dedicated to basic research on the senses of taste, smell, and chemesthesis (chemically-mediated skin senses). It is currently headed by Dr. Gary Beauchamp. The institute is operated as a non-profit and receives funding through grants, foundations and corporate sponsorships, most notably from the National Institute of Health, primarily through the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and the National Science Foundation.[1] Monell is located in Philadelphia's University City neighborhood, near the campuses of University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. The building front is home to a noticeable golden sculpture of a giant face, with the eyes and forehead removed so it is merely a nose and a mouth. The sculpture, titled Face Fragment, was made by Arlene Love.

Monell is notable for being multidisciplinary. There are no departments, and Monell's scientists frequently collaborate with other scientists from other disciplines. Laboratories and offices generally are not segregated by discipline, and staff is imbued with the ideal of multidisciplinary interaction.

Many notable people have served on the Board of Directors at Monell. Among these are Dwight Riskey, former executive at Pepsi, Lewis Thomas, Alan Leshner, CEO of the AAAS, and Martin Meyerson, formerly of the University of Pennsylvania.

The sweet protein monellin was named after the institute, where it was first isolated in 1972[2].

Monell is also known for its research in the TMAU disease. The disease today can be diagnosed by Monell's Dr. George Preti.



Monell was founded by Dr. Morley R. Kare in 1968. [3] He was assisted in this by the Ambrose Monell Foundation, founded by Ambrose Monell in Manhattan, New York.

In 1967, The Ambrose Monell Foundation made an initial pledge of $1 million to create the Monell Chemical Senses Center, with Dr. Kare as director. After consulting several universities, Dr. Kare, the directors of the Monell Foundation, and administrators at the University of Pennsylvania agreed that it would would be the ideal location for such a research institute.


The Center was first housed in the Lippincott Publications bindery building owned by the University at 25th and Locust Streets. In 1971, Monell moved into its current home at 3500 Market Street, initially occupying two of the building’s six floors. In 1978, the Monell Center separated from Penn to become an independent nonprofit research institute. The two institutions continue to maintain a close relationship.

  • Dr. James Morris and others isolated the sweet protein monellin.
  • Dr. Robert H. Cagan studied the binding of monellin to taste tissues.
  • Dr. Charles Wysocki studied the involvement of the vomeronasal system in the reproduction of mammals. [4]
  • Dr. Michael Naim and Dr. Morley Kare studied the "effect of oral stimulation on the cephalic phase of pancreatic exocrine secretion in dogs" [5]


  • Drs. Charles Wysocki and Gary K. Beauchamp discover that the ability to smell androstenone is genetic.
  • Dr. Joseph Brand and Dr. Andrew Spielman, with researchers from the Department of Biological Science at New York University, investigated bitter taste transduction mechanisms.
  • Dr. George Preti investigates how armpit odor influences the female menstrual cycle. [6]


  • Dr. Diego Restrepo investigates the olfactory neurons of the channel catfish. [7]
  • Dr. Kare continued to head the Center until he passed away in 1990. Dr. Gary Beauchamp took his place.
  • Drs. Michael Naim and Morley Kare, with Dr. Ikuo Ohara investigate the taste sensations of umami. [8]
  • Drs. Lisa Brunet and Geoffrey H. Gold looked at the general anosmia caused by a disruption in the olfactory cyclic cation channel in mice.[9]
  • Dr. Michael Tordoff led an investigation into polyethylene glycol-induced calcium intake and appetite. [10]
  • Dr. Leonard Belluscio and Dr. Geoffrey H. Gold discover that mice deficient in G(olf) are anosmic.[11]


The Center bought and expanded into neighboring facilities. In 2005, Monell opened a new wing of the center, a molecular biology lab and several offices. This makes Monell the biggest facility of its kind in the country.[12]

Current scientists[edit]

Current members of Monell include Dr. Gary K. Beauchamp, the current director. Others include:

Notable former members[edit]

Notable alumni and deceased members of Monell include:


  1. ^
  2. ^ Characterization of Monellin, a Protein That Tastes Sweet. JA Morris, R Martenson, G Deibler and RH Cagan. J. Biol. Chem. 248 (2): 534.
  3. ^ Cook, Joan (July 31), "Morley R. Kare, 68, Physiologist who researched taste and smell", The New York Times  Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  4. ^ Wysocki, Charles (1979), Neurobehavioral evidence for the involvement of the vomeronasal system in mammalian reproduction., Neurosci. Behav. Rev. 
  5. ^ Naim, Michael; Kare, Morley (1977), Effects of oral stimulation on the cephalic phase of pancreatic exocrine secretion in dogs, Elsevier, doi:10.1016/0031-9384(78)90248-2 
  6. ^ Bunn, Austin (October 15), "The War On Stink", The New York Times  Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  7. ^ Restrepo, Diego; Miyamoto, T. (1990), Odor stimuli trigger influx of calcium into olfactory neurons of the channel catfish, Monell Chemical Senses Center: Science, doi:10.1126/science.2168580 
  8. ^ Naim, Michael; Ohara, Ikuo (1991), Interaction of MSG taste with nutrition: Perspectives in consummatory behavior and digestion, Hebrew University of Israel, Kobe Women's University, Monell Chemical Senses Center: Physiology Behaviour, doi:10.1016/0031-9384(91)90217-C 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Tordoff, Michael G. (1997), Polyethylene glycol-induced calcium appetite, Monell Chemical Senses Center: AJP 
  11. ^ Belluscio, Leonard; Gold, Geoffrey H. (1998), Mice deficient in G(olf) are anosmic., Monell Chemical Senses Center: Neuron 
  12. ^ Acchione, Tommy (May 26), "Monell Center opens new facility", The Daily Pennsylvanian  Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  13. ^ Mennella, Julie; Jagnow, Coren (2000), Prenatal and Postnatal Flavor Learning by Human Infants, Monell Chemical Senses Center: American Academy of Pediatrics 
  14. ^ Teff, Karen L.; Elliot, Sharon (2004), Dietary Fructose Reduces Circulating Insulin and Leptin, Attenuates Postprandial Suppression of Ghrelin, and Increases Triglycerides in Women, UC Davis: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 

External links[edit]

[[Category:Research institutes in the United States]] [[Category:Independent research institutes]] [[Category:Neuroscience research centers]] [[Category:Gustation]] [[Category:Olfaction]] [[Category:Companies based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]] [[Category:Buildings and structures in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]] [[Category:Miscellaneous research institutes]]