Dr. Pepino is an Associate Professor of Ingestive Behavior at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and the Division of Nutritional Sciences and a Health Innovator Professor in Carle Illinois College of Medicine. She received her B.S. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, from the Faculty of Chemical Sciences, National University of Córdoba, Argentina, in 1995 and a Ph. D. in Chemistry from the same university in 2001. After completing her graduate degree, she was a post-doctoral research fellow at Monell Center in Philadelphia. Before joining the University of Illinois, she was a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Human Nutrition, Washington University School of Medicine. In recent years, her research has focused on individual differences in taste perception, food preferences, and ingestive behavior. Among the individual differences, she has a particular interest in studying those related to obesity and addiction. In 2011, Dr. Pepino was the recipient of the 20th Annual Moskowitz Jacobs Award for Research in Psychophysics of Human Taste and Smell, a prestigious award given by the International Association for Chemoreception Sciences. Dr. Pepino’s current research interests include understanding 1) the effect of bariatric surgery-induced weight loss on flavor perception and eating and drinking behavior; 2) human fat sensory perception, and 3) the effect of non-caloric sweeteners on taste preference and glucose homeostasis and 4) taste and smell function in clinical populations.
Dr. Neda Seyedsadjadi is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Nutrition sciences and obtained a Ph.D. degree in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia in 2018. Before joining the University of Illinois, she was a postdoctoral research officer at the Centre for Lifestyle Medicine at Australasian Research Institute, Sydney, Australia. Neda’s current research interest is understanding pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effects of alcohol and metabolic and biochemical changes after bariatric surgery.
Clara Salame is a Ph.D. student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. She is a US registered Dietitian with a Master’s in Clinical and Public Health Nutrition from the University College London, UK. Prior to that, she received her B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics, Coordinated Program from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Clara’s research interests are in ingestive behavior, particularly the effect of low-calorie sweeteners on sweet taste receptors and glucose metabolism.
Jessica Nicanor Carreon is a Ph.D. student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. She completed a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. Prior to that, she received her B.A. in Nutrition and Wellness from Tecnologico de Monterrey also in Mexico. She graduated with honors in both programs. Jessica’s research interests are clinical nutrition, obesity, bariatric surgery, and ingestive behavior. Her current research focuses on changes in flavor perception after bariatric surgery, and how this can influence eating behavior.
Dr. Stephanie Okoye is a master’s student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. She is a registered pharmacist in the state of Illinois and obtained her Pharm D degree from Rosalind Franklin University. She has a prior B.S. in Biochemistry from Easter Michigan University. She is originally from Nigeria and her interest in food taste research is strongly influenced by how spice taste preferences vary across cultures. She is currently involved in research seeking to understand the associations between low-calorie sweetener use and sweet taste perception.
Mariel Molina is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. She has a bachelor’s and a licentiate degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Costa Rica. Prior to that, she worked as a nutrition consultant for UNICEF and as a clinical nutritionist in a public hospital in San José, Costa Rica. Mariel’s current research interest is in ingestive behavior, particularly in the effect of low-calorie sweeteners on sweet taste receptors and glucose metabolism.
We could do next to nothing without the excellent technical support and contributions of Molly, Rafael, Danisa, and our committed undergraduates