The UFCST embodies a new multidisciplinary approach to research in the chemical senses…

The University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste has devoted over 20 years to revolutionizing scientific collaboration and academic advancements in chemical senses. The University of Florida’s large, welcoming faculty and staff provide the UFCST with a wonderfully diverse range of expertise throughout the science of smell and taste.

Established in October 1998, the UFCST was organized as a University-wide center to promote research and education that thrived outside the box. We proudly call ourselves the home to a unique, dynamic center dedicated to advances in chemical senses research.

Over 50 faculty members, along with their postdoctoral associates, graduate students, and staff enhance our unique, academic team. We gain expertise from numerous colleges within the University, including the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Health and Human Performance, Agriculture, and Liberal Arts and Sciences. All of those fields and each member of our team sheds another light on smell and taste disorders. Research, application, and education keeps us busy in the hopes to share our wealth of knowledge with those afflicted with smell and taste disorders.

Many members affiliate with other interdisciplinary units, such as the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, the Genetics Institute, the Brain Institute, the Institute on Aging, the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, and the Emerging Pathogens Institute. Additionally, the UFCST partners with chemosensory scientists at several other Florida institutions, thus pushing above and beyond new advances in smell and taste science across the State.

The center’s mission not only involves UF’s admired team of academics but the center’s valued community, as well. UFCST holds events and guest lecturers to educate and serve its community. Engagement and advocacy are critical to making advances for the chemosensory disorders community.

Without the contributions of everyone involved, the University of Florida Center for Taste and Smell would not be able to stand out as an exceptional convergence of academic diversity, collaboration, and dynamic research for chemical senses.

Please, come and stay for a while (on our website, that is) and feel free to contact us!

Leadership Team

Dan Wesson, PhD, Interim-Director. Dr. Wesson is a Professor and Chair of of The Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and also since 2024 the Interim-Director of the Center for Smell and Taste. He reports Center activities directly to the University of Florida’s Vice President for Research. Other responsibilities include facilitating communication between UFCST members, outreach to the public and the media, and promoting training in the chemical senses.

Barry W. Ache, PhD, Chair, Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Ache is a Distinguished Professor of Biology and of Neuroscience. Dr. Ache received his PhD at the University of California Santa Barbara. Since starting his career he has been actively involved in basic research in the chemical senses, focusing primarily on olfactory physiology and the cellular events associated with olfactory transduction. He has held numerous national and international leadership positions in the field, including serving on the National Advisory Council of NIH’s Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (https://www.nidcd.nih.gov), the government’s primary supporter of chemical senses research. Through 2015, Dr. Ache served as the UFCST’s Director.

Advisory Committees

Internal Advisory Committee

The Center is advised on organizational matters and its relationship to the University community by an Internal Advisory Committee. The Committee is composed of the Research Deans of the colleges most relevant to the mission of the Center: the Colleges of Agriculture (IFAS), Dentistry, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Medicine. The Director of the McKnight Brain Institute serves as the Chair of the Committee. The Committee meets annually, or at the discretion of the Chair. The Committee currently consists of:

Dr. Tetsuo Ashizawa, Executive Director, Brain Institute (Chair)
Dr. Douglas Archer, Assoc. Dean for Research, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science
Dr. Robert Burne, Assoc. Dean for Research, College of Dentistry
Dr. Jennifer S. Curtis, Assoc. Dean for Research, College of Engineering
Dr. Ata Sarajedini, Assoc. Dean for Natural Sciences and Mathematics, College of Liberal Arts and Science
Dr. Stephen Sugrue, Senior Assoc. Dean for Research, College of Medicine

External Advisory Committee

The Center is establishing an External Advisory Committee, which will provide advise on scientific and organizational matters and future scientific directions. The Committee will be composed of three external scientists who will serve staggered, rotating 3 year terms.

Education and Training

The UFCST is committed to education and training in the chemical senses to help assure the next generation of chemosensory scientists as well as to increase the awareness of chemosensory disorders among clinicians. UFCST members participate in the education of undergraduate, graduate and professional students across the campus through lectures, small group and mentoring activities. Additionally, the UFCST offers a regular seminar series during the academic year that brings in leading chemosensory scientists from around the world to discuss their research and meet with faculty, postdoctoral and student trainees. Semiweekly discussion groups allow members to explore new ideas emerging from the literature. Finally, annual colloquia at UF and in conjunction with chemosensory researchers at Florida State University offer the opportunity to explore current research and establish new mentoring relationships.

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