Ha Nguyen Appointed Monell Center’s Inaugural Carol M. Christensen Fellow

For Immediate Release
Contact: Karen Kreeger; kkreeger@monell.org

PHILADELPHIA (August 01, 2023) – Ha Nguyen, PhD, has been selected as Monell Chemical Senses Center‘s first Christensen Fellow, a newly endowed fund by long-time Monellian Carol M. Christensen, PhD, Alumnus Member of the Center. The fellowship funds the development of the next generation of scientists to bring new approaches to Monell, creating the upcoming cadre of human chemosensory researchers.

“This fellowship will help me gain greater training and launch an independent career as an expert in human chemosensory psychophysics,” said Nguyen. Her research will focus on human sensory genetics and individual differences in sensory perception, food preference, and consumption behavior by improving sensory methodologies as well as systematizing and expanding sensory knowledge, making them more quickly accessible worldwide.

Ha Nguyen, PhD

The establishment of this Fellowship is made possible by the generosity of Carol M. Christensen, Ph.D., an Alumnus Member of the Center. Christensen, who began her career at Monell as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a faculty member, has endowed the full-time postdoctoral position to support innovation in human chemosensory research.

“I am pleased that the Center has chosen Ha to be the first recipient of this fellowship,” said Christensen. “She brings such enthusiasm, scholarship, and dedication to all her research. I feel sure that she will become a leader in human chemosensory research,” calling her appointment a “win-win” for Monell and the chemical senses field.

“Carol’s vision centers on training the next generation of experts in measuring the human sensory experience, and Ha’s vision is to apply these methods to increasingly large and powerful datasets,” said Reed. “She will pair classic methods with cutting-edge data, and I am excited to see her progress.”

Nguyen has a background in chemical and food engineering, receiving her doctorate in Food Science and Technology at the University of Alberta. Her combined experience as a lecturer in these fields, a researcher in sensory and consumer science, and a food scientist working for a food manufacturer has laid a foundation for her to gain the maximum benefit from this training fellowship. At Monell she has been working on the connection between genetic ancestry and bitter perception, the efficacy of bitter blockers, and the heritability of food preference and consumption behavior. She is also studying the mouthfeel perception of sugars and fats in foods and beverages.


The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1968, Monell‘s mission is to improve health and well-being by advancing the scientific understanding of taste, smell, and related senses, where our discoveries lead to improving nutritional health, diagnosing and treating disease, addressing smell and taste loss, and digitizing chemosensory data.