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Nancy Rawson


Vice President, Monell Chemical Senses Center
Associate Director, Monell Chemical Senses Center
Associate Member, Monell Chemical Senses Center


Ph.D., Biology, University of Pennsylvania
M.Sc., Nutrition, University of Massachusetts

Research Summary

The health of the biological systems we use for detecting tastes and odors is paramount to insure optimal health and well being, and these systems are now known to be used not only for sensing the external environment but the internal chemical milieu as well. Their importance for survival is underscored by their remarkable regenerative ability, which helps to insure function in the face of exposure to harsh environments, whether externally facing in the nose or mouth, or internally facing, such as in the GI tract or lung. Cell-based tools are used to understand the development and function of chemosensory receptor cells and to leverage this understanding through multidisciplinary collaborations to address health challenges in the prevention and management of health conditions related to weight management and metabolic status, aging and neurological disorders.


Taste, olfaction, nutrition, cell culture, transduction, aging, neurodegenerative disease, obesity

Recent Publications

Hanson M, Jojola S, Rawson N, Laska M. Facial expressions and other behavioral responses to pleasant and unpleasant tastes in cats (Felis silvestris catus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science (In Press).

Pang B, Yee KK, Lischka FW, Rawson NE, Haskins ME, Wysocki CJ, Craven BA, Van Valkenburgh B. The influence of nasal airflow on respiratory and olfactory epithelial distribution in felids. J Exp Biol. 2016 Apr 4. pii: jeb.131482. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27045093.

Borgmann-Winter KE, Wang HY, Ray R, Willis BR, Moberg PJ, Rawson NE, Gur RE, Turetsky BI, Hahn CG. Altered G-Protein coupling in olfactory neuroepithelial cells from patients with schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull. 2016 Mar;42(2):377-85. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbv129. Epub 2015 Sep 15. PubMed PMID: 26373539; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4753598.

Sandau MM, Goodman JR, Thomas A, Rucker JB, Rawson NE. A functional comparison of the domestic cat bitter receptors Tas2r38 and Tas2r43 with their human orthologs. BMC Neurosci. 2015 Jun 3;16:33. doi: 10.1186/s12868-015-0170-6. PubMed PMID: 26037485; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4453034.

Rawson NE, Ozdener MH. Primary culture of the human olfactory neuroepithelium. Methods Mol Biol. 2013;945:81-93. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-125-7_6. PubMed PMID: 23097102.