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Who are we?

Who are we

Joanne Hort

Joanne is SABMiller Professor of Sensory Science and Head of Brewing in the Division of Food Sciences at the University of Nottingham. Initially, she studied Food Technology and began her career in teaching. However, she returned to University to receive her doctorate concerning the modelling of the sensory attributes of cheese from analytical and instrumental measures in 1998. As a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University she carried out sensory consultancy for local industry, developed a sensory programme at undergraduate level and oversaw the installation of new sensory facilities before being appointed as Lecturer in Sensory Science at the University of Nottingham in 2002. She has since established the University of Nottingham Sensory Science Centre which is renowned for both its sensory training and research into flavour perception and is now Head of Brewing Science where she is applying her sensory expertise to study beer flavour . She is a founder member of the Sensory Science Group (formally Professional Food Sensory Group) of the Institute of Food Science and Technology and was on the organising committee of the 6th International Pangborn Symposium in the UK in 2005. In 2013 she was appointed Chair of the European Sensory Science Society. Current areas of interest include: Crossmodal perception - how taste, aroma and texture integrate to form flavour perception; Investigating individual variation in perception e.g. supertasters and thermal tasters; Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to understand flavour perception; Measuring Emotional response to sensory properties.


Sue Francis

Sue Francis is a Professor at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imagine Centre (SPMIC) Magnetic Resonance Centre, University of Nottingham. Her research has centred on developing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) methods for biomedical applications. Her major interests include the application and development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques in neuroscience to study brain function, as well as quantitative imaging methods in MRI, with a particular interest in the development of Arterial Spin Labelling (ASL) methods to study cerebral blood flow. Of particular research interest is exploiting the capabilities of high and ultra-high field (7 Tesla) MRI for basic neuroscience. She has published extensively on fMRI applications to understand the neural correlates of taste, aroma, flavour perception, and to study the impact of fat on flavour perception, demonstrating the strength of combining expertise linking sensory science and neuroimaging.


Sally Eldeghaidy

Dr. Sally Eldeghaidy is a research fellow at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imagine Centre (SPMIC) in the Faculty of Science. Sally graduated in Physics at Suez Canal University, Egypt. She started her research in biophysics at the same university which led to her MSc. In 2005, Sally joined the SPMIC to complete her PhD in a multi-disciplinary project with the sensory science group at the University of Nottingham. During this period she gained a wide ranging experience in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) including improving acquisition methods and fMRI analysis techniques to understand the neural mechanism underlying taste and flavour perception. The collaboration with sensory science group has enriched her knowledge on food science and flavour perception on the peripheral level as well as the central level. Following her PhD she continued her research interest in revealing the cortical response to oral fat and the effect of taste phenotype (e.g. PROP and thermal tasters) on taste and flavour perception in the human brain. Her research interest also includes the use of fMRI to understand the gut-brain interactions.


Becki Ford (nee Clark)

Dr. Rebecca Ford (Becki) is a Sensory Science research fellow in the Division of Food Sciences at University of Nottingham.  Becki studied food science leading to a role developing delicious new food products for leading supermarkets.  During this time she became fascinated by the complexity of sensory perception and decided to return to University to study for a doctorate in Multi-Modal Flavour Perception. Becki’s multi-disciplinary PhD investigated the flavour of beer using instrumental measures, descriptive sensory methods and functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (fMRI).  She has since gained experience in industry measuring the sensory properties of non-food consumer goods and has trained high impact taste and odour panels in a variety of sectors.  Becki’s research interests include investigating; individual variation in sensory perception, multimodal flavour perception, oral somatosensation and beer flavour development. Becki is a member of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST), committee member of the IFST’s Sensory Science Group and a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).


Martha Skinner

Martha Skinner is studying for her doctorate in the Division of Food Sciences at the University of Nottingham. Before joining the team, Martha completed her BSc in Human Nutrition at Bath Spa.  Her PhD research is multidisciplinary using sensory science and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate taste perception in the brain and is working project taste map as part of her PhD thesis. Martha’s work will initially focus on using high spatial resolution (7 Tesla) fMRI to identify a gustotopic map in the human brain and will build on this work in the future to investigate differences in cortical activation with taste phenotype and genotype. 


School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

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