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Danielle Reed


Member, Monell Chemical Senses Center


Ph.D., Psychology; Yale University

Research Summary

Quantitative genetics is concerned with the inheritance of those differences between individuals that are of a degree rather than of a kind; for instance, the threshold at which someone can experience bitterness or an odorant, or the degree of pleasure that comes from tasting sugars. An understanding of these differences is of fundamental significance and has led to important insights about the molecular mechanisms that underpin the biology of obesity, nutrition, taste and smell.

The focus of my work has been to understand the precise relationship between genotype and phenotype in both humans and rodents, as well as how development and environment can affect those relationships. This research is pursued using linkage analysis and association methods, both of which exploit the behavior of chromosomes during meiosis.

My collaborators and I have conducted projects with linkage analysis for saccharin preference in mice followed by positional cloning, which uncovered a protein that is now known to be the subunit of a sweet receptor (Tas1r3). Similar types of human family-based linkage studies assisted in the identification of a receptor on human chromosome 5 (TAS2R1), which is involved in the perception of the bitter compound propylthiouracil. Likewise, association studies helped to define how haplotypes of the bitter receptor TAS2R38 affect bitter taste perception.

Our ongoing work is aimed at understanding the heritability and molecular underpinnings of obesity and fat patterning; perceived sweet intensity of human twins; the relationship between olfactory receptor genotype and smell phenotypes; and the developmental aspects of genotype-phenotype relationships in human children.

Detailed description of research program


sweet, genetics, taste, smell, obesity, genomics, genetic mapping

Recent Publications

Jiang, P.; Josue-Almqvist, J.; Jin, X.; Li, X.; Brand, J.; Margolskee, R.; Reed, D.; Beauchamp, G. (2014) The bamboo-eating giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) has a sweet tooth: Behavioral and molecular responses to compounds that taste sweet to humans. PLoS ONE, 9, e93043.

Mennella, J.A.; Finkbeiner, S.; Lipchock, S.; Liang-Dar, H.; Reed, D.R. (2014) Preferences for Salty and Sweet Tastes Are Elevated and Related to Each Other during Childhood. PLoS ONE, 9, e92201.

Mennella, J.A.; Reed, D.R.; Roberts, K.M.; Mathew, P.S.; Mansfield, C.J. (2014) Age-related differences in bitter taste and efficacy of bitter blockers. PLoS ONE, 9, e103107.

Mennella, J.A.; Roberts, K.; Mathew, P.S.; Reed, D.R. (In Press) Medication use among children: Genetics and Taste. Archives of Diseases of Childhood.

Adappa, N.D.; Howland, T.J.; Palmer, J.N.; Kennedy, D.W.; Doghramji, L.; Lysenko, A.; Reed, D.R.; Lee, R.J.; Cohen, N.A. (2013) Genetics of the taste receptor T2R38 correlates with chronic Rhinosinusitis necessitating surgical intervention. International Forum of Rhinology and Allergy Journal, 3, 184-187.

Bachmanov, A.A.; Bosak, N.P.; Lin, C.; Matsumoto, I.; Ohmoto, M.; Reed, D.R.; Nelson, T.M. (2013) Genetics of taste receptors. Current Pharmaceutical Design, (Electronic citation) PMID: 23886383

Lin, C.; Theodorides, M.L.; McDaniel, A.H.; Tordoff, M.G.; Zhang, Q.; Li, X.; Bosak, N.; Bachmanov, A.A.; Reed, D.R. (2013) QTL analysis of dietary obesity in C57BL/6ByJ X 129P3/J F2 mice: diet- and sex-dependent effects. PloS ONE, 8, e68776.

Lipchock, S.V.; Mennella, J.A.; Spielman, A.I.; Reed, D.R. (2013) Human bitter perception correlates with bitter receptor messenger RNA expression in taste cells. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 98, 1136-1143.

Mennella, J.A.; Spector, A.C.; Reed, D.R.; Coldwell, S.E. (2013) The bad taste of medicines: Overview of basic research on bitter taste. Clinical Therapeutics, 35, 1225-1246.

Heitmann, B.L.; Westerterp, K.R.; Loos, R.J.; Sorensen, T.I.; O’Dea, K.; McLean, P.; Jensen, T.K.; Eisenmann, J.; Speakman, J.R.; Simpson, S.J.; Reed, D.R.; Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S. (2012) Obesity: lessons from evolution and the environment. Obesity Reviews, 13, 910-922.

Jiang, P.; Li, X.; Glaser, D.; Li, W.; Brand, J.G.; Margolskee, R.F.; Reed, D.R.; Beauchamp, G.K. (2012) Major taste loss in carnivorous mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 109, 4956-4961.

Knaapila, A.; Hwang, L.D.; Lysenko, A.; Duke, F.F.; Fesi, B.; Khoshnevisan, A.; James, R.S.; Wysocki, C.J.; Rhyu, M.; Tordoff, M.G.; BAchmanov, A.A.; Mura, E.; Nagai, H.; Reed, D.R. (2012) Genetic analysis of chemosensory traits in human twins. Chemical Senses, 37, 869-881.

Knaapila, A.; Zhu, G.; Medland, S.E.; Wysocki, C.J.; Montgomery, G.W.; Martin, N.G.; Wright, M.J.; Reed, D.R. (2012) A genome-wide study on the perception of the odorants androstenone and galaxolide. Chemical Senses, 37, 541-552.

Lee, R.J.; Xiong, G.; Kofonow, J.M.; Chen, B.; Lysenko, A.; Jiang, P.; Abraham, V.; Doghramji, L.; Adappa, N.D.; Palmer, J.N.; Kennedy, D.W.; Beauchamp, G.K.; Paschalis-Thomas, D.; Ischiropoulous, H.; Kreindler, J.L.; Reed, D.R.; Cohen, N.A. (2012) T2R38 taste receptor polymorphisms underlie susceptibility to upper respiratory infection. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 122, 4145-4159.

Lipchock, S.V.; Reed, D.R.; Mennella, J.A. (2012) Relationship between bitter-taste receptor genotype and solid medication formulation usage among young children: a retrospective analysis. Clinical Therapeutics, 34, 728-733.

Mennella, J.A.; Finkbeiner, S.; Reed, D.R. (2012) The proof is in the pudding: children prefer lower fat but higher sugar than do mothers. International Journal of Obesity (London), 36, 1285-1291.

Newcomb, R.D.; Xia, M.B.; Reed, D.R. (2012) Heritable differences in chemosensory ability among humans, Flavour, 1.

Li, X.; Bachmanov, A.A.; Maehashi, K.; Li, W.; Lim, R.; Brand, J.G.; Thai, C.; Floriano, W.B.; Reed, D.R. (2011) Sweet receptor gene variation and aspartame blindness in primates and other species. Chemical Senses, 36, 453-475.

Lipchock, S.V.; Reed, D.R.; Mennella, J.A. (2011) The gustatory and olfactory systems during infancy: implications for development of feeding behaviors in the high-risk neonate. Clinics in Perinatology, 38, 627-641.

Reed, D.R.; Duke, F.F.; Ellis, H.K.; Rosazza, M.R.; Lawler, M.P.; Alarcon, L.K.; Tordoff, M.G. (2011) Body fat distribution and organ weights of 14 common strains and a 22-strain consomic panel of rats. Physiology & Behavior, 103, 523-429.

Mennella, J.A.; Pepino, M.Y.; Duke, F.F.; Reed, D.R. (2010) Age modifies the genotype-phenotype relationship for the bitter receptor TAS2R38. BMC Genetics, 11, 60.

Mennella, J.A.; Pepino, M.Y.; Duke, F.F.; Reed, D.R. (2010) Psychophysical dissection of genotype effects on human bitter perception. Chemical Senses, 36, 161-167.

Pelchat, M.L.; Bykowski, C.; Duke, F.F.; Reed, D.R. (2010) Excretion and perception of a characteristic odor in urine after asparagus ingestion: a psychophysical and genetic study. Chemical Senses, 36, 9-17.

Reed, D.R. (2010) Heritable variation in fat preference. In: J.P. Montmayeur & J. de Coutre (Eds.) Fat detection: taste, texture, and post-investive effects. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 395-416.

Reed, D.R.; Knaapila, A. (2010) Genetics of taste and smell: poisons and pleasures. Progress in Molecular Biology & Transitional Science, 94, 213-240.

Reed, D.R.; Zhu, G.; Breslin, P.A.; Duke, F.F.; Henders, A.K.; Campbell, M.J.; Montgomery, G.W.; Medland, S.E.; Martin, N.G.; Wright, M.J. (2010) The perception of quinine taste intensity is associated with common genetic variants in a bitter receptor cluster on chromosome 12. Human Molecular Genetics, 19, 4278-4285.

Lab Staff

Cailu Lin, Research Associate (with Alexander Bachmanov)
Paule V. Joseph, RN & MSN, Graduate student, School of Nursing (co-mentored with Charlene Compher)
Corrine Mansfield, Lab Manager
Brad Fesi, Research Technician
Deborah Lee, Research Technician
Michael Marquis, Research Technician (starting Dec 10th 2012)
Anna Lysenko, Graduate student, Drexel University
Rebecca S. James, Undergraduate, University of Pennsylvania
Mary Xia, Undergraduate, University of Pennsylvania
Wendy Yu, Masters student, University of Pennsylvania
Gabriel Galson, Library

Past Reed Lab Members

Anna Lysenko, Lab manager – Graduate student at Drexel University
Daniel Hwang, Research technician – Graduate student at the University of Washington
Antti Knaapila, Postdoctoral researcher – Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Turku
Amin Khoshnevisan, Research technician – Western University of Health Sciences, Dental School
Fujiko Duke, Lab manager Broad Institute – Research technician for Matthew Meyerson
Amanda McDaniel, Research technician – R & D Scientist at Genisphere
Kirsten Mascioli, Research technician – Graduate Student at Thomas Jefferson University
Ke Lu, Research technician – Researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Zhenyu Chen, Research technician – unknown – get in touch!
Rameen Starling-Roney, Student – Howard University College of Medicine, MD
Murtaza Shakir, Student – Aga Khan Medical School
Macrina Cooper-White, High school student – Yale University
Abigal Bosk, High school student – Wheaton College
Minna Bak, High school student – University of Pennsylvania
Sarah Obenrader, High school student – Davidson College
Brian Gantick, Research technician – Web designer
Mauricio Avigdor, Research technician – Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
Laurie Pippett, Research technician – Senior Administrative Assistant at Kelly Services

Twinsburg Alumni

Class of 2012

Tiffany Weiss Aleman
Seth Brockman
Fujiko Duke
Brad Fesi
Daniel Hwang
Anna Lysenko
Alex Mangroo
Kevin Redding

Class of 2011

Seth Brockman
Danielle Crawford
Fujiko Duke
Daniel Hwang
Matt Kirkey
Anna Lysenko
Kevin Redding

Class of 2010

Laura Alarcon
Calvin Alarcon
Fujiko Duke
Brian R. Gantick
Matt Kirkey
Antti Knaapila
Amin Koshnevisan
Michelle Murphy
Tom Uleau

Class of 2009

Laura Alarcon
Fujiko Duke
Brian Gantick
Ryan McDermott