Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences [Dept. of Food Science]

Beverly J. Tepper, Ph. D.

Research Interests

Research Interests

Dr.  Beverly Tepper directs the Sensory Evaluation Laboratory at Rutgers.  Her research program
combines Food Sensory Science with Nutritional Science and Psychology to better understand the
links between taste, diet and health. Specific research areas include the following:

  • The influence of genetic variation in taste perception (6-n-propylthiouracil [PROP] taste
    sensitivity) on oral sensations and food choice. Current work examines the role of PROP
    taster status as a marker for dietary behaviors that predisposes individuals to increased body
    weight. Studies in children, teens and adults are ongoing. Other taste genes such as the oral
    fat sensor CD36 are also being investigated.

More about taste genes and eating behavior:

  • The effects of diabetes on sweet taste, food cravings and dietary compliance. Special interest
    is on women who become transiently diabetic during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).
    Gestational diabetes is more common in obese and minority women and places them at
    greater risk for poor fetal outcome and for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Food intake regulation and the influence of cognitive factors such as food attitudes, dietary
    restraint and disinhibition on eating behavior. Current studies have applied multivariate
    statistical techniques to small-scale surveys to better understand eating patterns among
    different population subgroups such as women and minorities.
  •  Sensory perception and consumer testing for new food technologies.

Dr. Tepper receives research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer
Institute, the American Heart Association, the U.S. Dept of Agriculture and the food industry.