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).
My group focusses on chemosensory signals, and how they interact with metabolic and cognitive factors, to decide If, What, and How much we eat. I combine behavioral, neurobiological and physiological measurements to unravel the key question of ‘why do we (over)eat?’. Within this framework, I work on two major research lines: I) the influence of odors on appetite regulation; II) chemosensory changes in clinical populations. With my work, I hope to contribute to changing current eating behavior towards healthier and more rewarding food patterns, and improve quality of life.
Over the past year 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.