From the Smell for Life Campaign Director, Welcome!

My name is Jenifer Trachtman, and I am the campaign director for Monell’s Smell for Life initiative.

Jenifer Trachtman

Smell for Life is Monell’s strategic aim to find causes and treatments for smell and taste disorders. It is by design crowd sourced, supported by contributions from you, those most impacted by taste and smell disorders. When you make a contribution to Smell for Life, it is pooled together with those from many others and awarded competitively to investigators at Monell with the most compelling solutions to the problem of smell dysfunction.

There is wonderful diversity in our growing community of donors. While we may be geographically dispersed and make gifts of different sizes, we share a belief that more research will lead to future treatment options for taste and smell dysfunction.

Simply stated, there is currently not enough research being done in taste and smell to move us quickly to treatments. This is especially true when compared to the other senses, for instance, hearing and eyesight. But, those of us connected by this common cause of finding causes and treatments for taste and smell differences can rally around some of the important milestones in the other senses and see what the future could look like for taste and smell disorders.

Consider the story of Geraldine Dietz Fox. Fox lost hearing in her left ear at the age of 27. Frustrated by the amount of hearing research being done, Fox became a patient advocate. Her super power was being an individual with lived experience with hearing loss. Today she is credited with helping Congress propose the establishment of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD). Through her hard work in Washington and other philanthropic efforts, Fox has impacted hearing in real-world ways, for instance, improvements to hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Fox’s story is immediately applicable to us. It lays a path where individuals who have experience with taste and smell disorders work in partnership with researchers, policy makers, and clinicians. It sheds light on a future where taste and smell disorders are appreciated, their role in our overall health widely accepted, diagnostic tools readily available and affordable, and eventually, causes and treatments for these sensory disorders.

What I outline here is no quick fix. Even Fox acknowledged that the pace of scientific research can be slow. But her story reminds us that we all have a role to play from researchers to clinicians to people with lived experience with taste and smell differences.

At Monell our expertise and our primary role is research. Smell for Life is the campaign that brings our research aim of conquering taste and smell loss to you.

We are honored to be the only freestanding institute dedicated to the scientific study of taste and smell. But, we can only do our work in partnership with you. Please consider a gift today.

If in addition to directly supporting research you would like to be active as a patient advocate, please consider these three additional calls to action that are also getting us closer to causes and treatments.

Watch my five-minute Mission Story Slam about the need for routine smell testing


Support universal smell and taste testing by signing this petition

Thank you for being part of the global rising tide effort to conquer taste and smell disorders!




Jenifer Trachtman