Since the start of my PhD (2004, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) I have been active in the field of olfaction. I have worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Monell Chemical Senses Center (USA), the world’s premier institute devoted to multidisciplinary research on the senses of smell and taste. I have expanded my research into eating behavior since 2010, when I started working at the division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, in the chair group Sensory Science and Eating Behavior. In 2011, I was awarded with a prestigious NWO-Veni grant, to investigate the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of odor-induced food cue reactivity. I was one of the first to demonstrate a sensory specific effect of odors on appetite, indicating that food odors may communicate information about the nutrient composition of foods.
My group focusses on understanding the role of chemosensory signals for human eating behavior, to unravel the key question of ‘why do we (over)eat?’, combining behavioral, neurobiological and physiological measurements. My main interests can be divided in three parts: Odors and appetite regulation; Sensory learning mechanisms; Chemosensory changes in clinical populations. By gaining insight into how odors can influence appetite regulation, in health and disease, we may be able to influence this, and contribute to changing current eating behavior towards healthier and more rewarding food patterns.