The UFCST partnered with Monell Center and the Rocky Mountain Taste and Smell Center to host the Identifying Treatments for Smell and Taste Disorders conference in Philadelphia on Nov. 14-15.
A major goal of the conference, sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), was to develop a consensus roadmap for identifying and developing new strategies to treat taste and smell disorders. Toward that end, organizers brought in experts from several fields to speak about stem cell and gene therapy strategies that could be developed to treat smell and taste disorders.
Among the speakers were two UFCST members, Dr. Jeffrey Martens and Dr. Linda Bartoshuk. Dr. Martens spoke about his lab’s work focused on developing new gene therapy strategies for treating anosmia (the absence of a sense of smell) resulting from gene mutations. Dr. Bartoshuk discussed her work on using food volatiles (odors) to enhance the perception of sweet taste, which could be useful for patients experiencing taste impairments.
The conference also served as an opportunity to educate patients experiencing smell or taste impairments. Patients were invited to speak, share their stories and engage with the scientists and clinicians.