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Beverly J. Tepper, Ph. D.

Research Interests

Dr. Beverly Tepper is the Graduate Program Director and a professor in the Department of Food Science at Rutgers University where she directs the Sensory Evaluation Laboratory. She is also the co-founder and director of the Center for Sensory Sciences & Innovation (CSSI) 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 on the pathways linking oral sensations to food preferences, diet selection and body weight.

Proposed pathway linking genetic taste markers for fat perception and obesity/chronic disease risk.

Ongoing studies utilize the genetic taste marker PROP (6-n-propylthiouracil bitter taste sensitivity) and other genetic variants such as the oral fat sensor CD36 to identify individuals who may be at increased risk for obesity due to specific dietary behaviors. The role of PROP status in weight loss is also being investigated.
Learn more about taste genes and eating behavior:

  • American Heart Association 2009-2010 Newsletter
Ability to taste a bitter compound and obesity
  • Sensing fat: Are genes that alter the perception of fat making us fat?
  • Blue-Ribbon Hunter – Are You a Supertaster? (video)
  • The role of salivary proteins in sensory perception and oral health. Current studies investigate variation in the gustin (CA6) gene and its involvement in bitter taste perception, and taste bud growth and functionality. Additional studies examine the links between individual differences in the perception of astringency from cranberry polyphenols, salivary protein release, and their interactive effects on oral health.
  • The influence of personal traits on consumer behavior.

    Studies examine the role of cognitions (dietary restraint and disinhibition), attitudes (variety seeking) and mood on taste, aroma and flavor perception. Studies utilize multivariate approaches to understand complex patterns of consumer behavior, especially cross-cultural influences.
  • Sensory evaluation and consumer testing of natural products and novel food ingredients and technologies.

    Studies include consumer reactions to nanotechnology and cooling ingredients. Two current projects link the aroma profiles of fresh basil cultivars and baby leafy greens with their volatile chemical compositions.

Dr. Tepper has published more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters and her work has been frequently showcased in print and online media for the general public. She receives 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.

Dr. Tepper was elected Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists in 2017. She has a long history of leadership in IFT at both the national and local level, serving as a program chair and organizer for the Sensory and Consumer Science Division for the national meeting and as Student Scholarship judge. Since 2016, she has served as Scientific Editor for the Sensory and Consumer Science Section of the Journal of Food Science.