Contact Information

(267) 519-4878
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Alissa Nolden


Postdoctoral Fellow, Monell Chemical Senses Center

Laboratory of

Dr. Julie Mennella
Dr. Danielle Reed


Ph.D., Dual-title in Food Science and Clinical Translational Science, Pennsylvania State University

Research Summary

My research has explored the relationship between individual differences in bitterness perception of food ingredients and polymorphisms in bitter taste receptor genes. Key findings include linking individual differences in bitterness perception of non-nutritive sweeteners and ethanol to genotypes for multiple bitter taste receptor genes in humans.

More recent work, which was funded by a F31 Predoctoral National Research Service Award funded by NIH, explores the effects of chronic capsaicin exposure on the expression of the transient receptor potential cation channel (TRPV1). This receptor is associated with oral pain and disease; therefore, this research is crucial in determining if dietary consumption of capsaicin may aid in the alleviation of oral pain.


Psychophysics, bitterness, chemesthesis, capsaicin, ethanol, TRPV1, TAS2Rs, genetics

Recent Publications

Nolden AA and Hayes JE. 2017. Perceptual and affective responses to sampled capsaicin differ by reported intake. Food Quality and Preference. 55: 26-34.

Nolden AA and Hayes JE. 2016. Differential bitterness in capsaicin, piperine and ethanol associates with polymorphisms in multiple bitter taste receptor genes. Physiology & Behavior. 156: 117-127.

Nolden AA and Hayes JE. 2015. Perceptual qualities of ethanol depend on concentration, and variation in these percepts associates with drinking frequency. Chemosensory Perception. 8(3): 149-157.

Hayes JE, Feeney EF, Nolden AA, McGeary JE. 2015. Quinine and grapefruit juice bitterness associate with allelic variants in TAS2R31. Chemical Senses. 40(6): 437-443.