Carol M. Christensen

Alumnus Faculty


Alumnus Member, Monell Chemical Senses Center
Consultant to the Director, Monell Chemical Senses Center

Research Summary

My early scientific career at Monell centered on food texture perception and the role of salivary flow and composition in human oral sensation. A main focus of my food texture research was understanding oral perception of solution viscosity along with comparisons to visual and tactile perception of solution viscosity. In collaboration with colleagues at the Penn Dental School, I examined not only how salivary flow and composition affected taste perception but also participated in the development of reliable and valid measures of salivary flow and diagnosis of salivary hypofunction. This research brought me in touch with the many patients who suffer from severe loss of salivary function.

When I returned to the Monell Center more than 20 years later after a career in industry, I was administratively involved in research. A major responsibility was to create funded research partnerships between our industry partners and Monell scientists and secondarily to do the same with foundations that supported research. In that role I have had opportunities to contribute to research design and interpretation.


taste, mouthfeel, texture perception, salivary flow, salivary composition

Representative Publications

Erik Schwiebert, Yi Wang, Ranhui Xi, Katarzyna Choma, John Streiff, Linda J. Flammer, Natasha Rivers, Mehmet Hakan Ozdener, Robert F. Margolskee, Carol M. Christensen, Nancy E. Rawson, Peihua Jiang and Paul A. S. Breslin (2021). 6-Methylflavone blocks bitterness of tenofovir. Molecular Pharmacology 99 (5) 319-327;

Mahvash Navazesh, Carol Christensen and Vernon Brightman (1992). Clinical criteria for the diagnosis of salivary gland hypofunction. Journal of Dental Research 71 (7) 1363-136.

Carol M. Christensen, Joseph G. Brand and Daniel Malamud (1987). Salivary changes in solution pH: A source of individual differences in sour taste perception. Physiology and Behavior 40 221-227.

David J. Mela and Carol M. Christensen (1987). Sensory assessment of oiliness in a low moisture food. Journal of Sensory Studies 2 273-281.

Carol Christensen, Mary Bertino, Gary K. Beauchamp, Mahvash Navazesh and Karl Engelman (1986). The influence of moderate reduction in dietary sodium on human salivary sodium concentration. Archives of Oral Biology 31 825-828.

Zata M. Vickers and Carol M. Christensen (1980). Relationships between sensory crispness and other sensory and instrumental parameters. Journal of Texture Studies 11 291-307

Carol M. Christensen (1979). Oral perception of solution viscosity. Journal of Texture Studies 10 153-164.