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(267) 519-4880
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Julie Mennella


Member and Director Emeritus, Monell Science Apprenticeship Program (MSAP), Monell Chemical Senses Center


Ph.D., Biopsychology; The University of Chicago

Research Summary

My research program focuses on the development of food and flavor preferences in humans and the effects of alcohol and tobacco on women’s health and infant development. Current research studies focus on the following areas: 1) how maternal diet alters the aromatic profiles of amniotic fluid and mother’s milk and how such early flavor experiences affect food preferences during weaning and childhood; 2) elucidation of sensitive periods in flavor learning and food preferences in humans; 3) developing strategies to promote acceptance of fruits and vegetables in infants and children; 4) studying the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of alcohol in women; 5) determining the effects of alcohol consumption on hormonal responses and lactational performance; 6) studying the relationship between family history of alcoholism, tobacco use and taste preferences across the lifespan; 7) learning how parental drinking and smoking impact on the hedonic response to the sensory properties of these drugs during childhood and adolescence; and 8) elucidating the contribution of genes, experience and medical history to individual differences in taste and smell sensitivity and preferences.


taste, flavor, smell, lactation, development, infants, children, addiction, psychophysics, endocrinology, pharmacokinetics

Recent Publications

Mennella, J.A. (2014) Ontogeny of taste preferences: basic biology and implications for health. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (Electronic citation) doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.067694

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.

Mennella, J.A.; Ventura, A.K.; Beauchamp, G.K. (2011) Differential growth patterns among healthy infants fed protein hydrolysate or cow-milk formulas. Pediatrics, 127, 110-118.

Mennella, J.A.; Lukasewycz, L.D.; Castor, S.M.; Beauchamp, G.K. (2011) The timing and duration of a sensitive period in human flavor learning: a randomized trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93, 1019-1024.

Mennella, J.A.; Pepino, M.Y.; Duke 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. (2010) Breast pumping and lactational state exert differential effects on ethanol pharmacokinetics. Alcohol, 44, 141-148.

Mennella, J.A.; Pepino, M.Y.; Lehmann-Castor, S.M.; Yourshaw, L.M. (2010) Sweet preferences and analgesia during childhood: effects of family history of alcoholism and depression. Addiction, 105, 666-675.

Mennella, J.A.; Pepino, M. Y. (2009) Biphasic effects of alcohol consumption on prolactin in lactating women. Alcohol, 32, 1899-1908.

Mennella, J.A. (2009) Taste and smell. In: Shweder, R.A.; Bidell, T.R.; Dailey, A.C.; et al. (Eds.), The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 980-982.

Beauchamp, G.K.; Mennella, J.A. (2009) Early flavor learning and its impact on later feeding behavior. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 48, S25-S30.

Field, K.L.; Bachmanov, A.A.;Mennella, J.A.; Beauchamp, G.K.; Kimball, B.A. (2009) Protein hydrolysates are avoided by herbivores but not by omnivores in two-choice preference tests. PLoS ONE, 4, e4126.

Gidding, S.S.; Lichtenstein, A.; Faith, M.S.; Karpyn, A.; Mennella, J.A.; Popkin, B.; et al. (2009) AHA Scientific Statement: Implementing American Heart Association Pediatric and Adult Nutrition Guidelines. Circulation, 119, 1161-1175.

Mennella, J.A. (2009) Flavour programming during breast-feeding. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 639, 113-120.

Pepino, M.Y.; Finkbeiner, S.; Mennella, J.A. (2009) Similarities in food cravings and mood states between obese women and women who smoke tobacco. Obesity, 17, 1158-1163.

Field, K.L.; Kimball, B.A.; Mennella, J.A.; Beauchamp, G.K.; Bachmanov, A.A. (2008) Avoidance of hydrolyzed casein by mice. Physiology & Behavior, 93, 189-199.

Mennella, J.A.; Beauchamp, G.K. (2008) Optimizing oral medications for children. Clinical Therapeutics, 30, 2120-2132.

Mennella, J.A.; Forestell, C.A. (2008) Children’s hedonic responses to the odors of alcoholic beverages: A window to emotions. Alcohol, 42, 249-260.

Mennella, J.A.; Nicklaus, S.; Jagolino, A.L.; Yourshaw, L.M. (2008) Variety is the spice of life: Strategies for promoting fruit and vegetable acceptance in infants. Physiology & Behavior, 94, 29-38.

Pepino, M.Y.; Mennella, J.A. (2008) Effects of breast pumping on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of ethanol during lactation. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 84, 710-714.

Forestell, C.A.; Mennella, J.A. (2007) Food, folklore and flavor preference development. In: Lammi-Keefe, C. (Ed.), Handbook of Nutrition and Pregnancy, Humana Press, 55-64.

Forestell, C.A.; Mennella, J.A. (2007) Early determinants of fruit and vegetable acceptance. Pediatrics, 129, 1247-1254.

Mennella, J.A. (2007) The chemical senses and the development of flavor preferences in humans. In: Hartmann, P.E.; Hale, T. (Eds.), Textbook on Human Lactation, Texas: Hale Publishing, 403-414.

Mennella, J.A. (2007) Alcohol and lactation: do no harm. Nutrition and Dietetics, 64, 128-129.

Mennella, J.A.; Yourshaw, L.M.; Morgan, L.K. (2007) Breastfeeding and smoking: Short-term effects on infant feeding and sleep. Pediatrics, 120, 497-502.

Molina, J.C.; Mennella, J.A..; Lewis, M.J.; Spear, N.E.; Spear, I. (2007) Alcohol and development: Beyond fetal alcohol syndrome. Developmental Psychobiology, 49, 227-242.

Pepino, M.Y.; Mennella, J.A. (2007) Effects of cigarette smoking and family history of alcoholism on sweet taste perception and food cravings in women. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31, 1891-1899.

Pepino, M.Y.; Steinmeyer, A.L.; Mennella, J.A. (2007) Lactational state modifies alcohol pharmacokinetics in women. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31, 909-918.

Mennella, J.A.. (2006) Development of food preferences: lessons learned from longitudinal and experimental studies. Food Quality and Preference, 17, 635-636.

Mennella, J.A.; Ziegler, P.J.; Briefel, R.R.; Novak, T.J. (2006) Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study: The types of foods fed to Hispanic infants and toddlers. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106, 96-106.

Mennella, J.A.; Kennedy, J.; Beauchamp, G.K. (2006) The type of formula fed to infants modifies vegetable acceptance. Early Human Development, 82, 263-268.

Mennella, J.A.; Pepino, M.Y. (2006) Short-term effects of alcohol consumption on the hormonal milieu and mood states in nulliparous women. Alcohol, 38, 29-36.

Lab Staff

Ali Ventura, PhD- Postdoctoral Fellow
Sara Lehmann – Senior Research Technician
Susanna Finkbeiner- Research Technician
Laura Lukasewycz – Research Technician
Aleida Silva-Garcia – Research Technician
Lauren Yourshaw – part-time Research Technician (PhD student)
Allison Steinmeyer – part-time Research Technician (MS student)
Katy Vojtko– part-time Research Technician (PhD student)
Sehris Khawaja – part-time Research Technician