Joseph Brand

Emeritus Faculty


Member Emeritus, Monell Chemical Senses Center


Ph.D., Biophysics; University of Rochester

Research Summary

From the early 1970s until my 2010 retirement, my research used the techniques of biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology to explain chemosensory-directed behavior. In essence, we were asking a behavioral question and looking for a molecular answer. While we did not anticipate complete concordance, nevertheless, I was surprised at how strong these correlations could be. Paramount among these were:

  • a correlation between saltiness and the degree of amiloride-sensitivity of the taste nerve to salty stimuli, and
  • a concordance between the ability of mice to taste some bitter stimuli and the ability of these same stimuli to induce production of second messengers in the isolated membranes from taste tissue, all being performed in real time.

In the 21st century we shifted our focus to companion animals and to human, while still wishing to explain behavior at its molecular source. For example, the well-known indifference of cats to sweet compounds was explicable in that the cat sweet taste receptor is a pseudogene. Other more recent projects of the laboratory included

  • cloning and characterization of ion channels from human taste tissue that are involved in sour and salty taste;
  • reconstitution of taste cell ion channels (for example human ENaC) in lipid bilayers;
  • defining the roles of inflammatory signals in normal taste cell turnover and disease (with Dr. H. Wang)


taste, olfaction, neurobiology, lipid reconstitution, ion channel, receptor genetics

Representative Publications

Jiang, P.; Josue, J.; Li, W.; Li, X.; Margolskee, R.F.; Reed, D.R.; Brand, J.G.; Glaser, D.; Beauchamp, G.K. (2012) Major taste loss in carnivorous mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109, 4956-61.

Goldsmith, B.R.; Mitala Jr, J.J.; Josue, J.; Castro, A.; Lerner, M.B.; Bayburt, T.H.; Khamis, S.M.; Jones, R.A.; Brand, J.G.; Sligar, S.G.; Luetje, C.W.; Gelperin, A.; Rhodes, P.A.; Discher, B.M.; Charlie Johnson, A.T. (2011) Biomimetic chemical sensors based on carbon nanotube transistors functionalized with olfactory receptor proteins. ACS Nano, 5, 5408-541.

Batchelor, D.J.; Al-Rammahi, M.; Moran, A.W.; Brand, J.G.; Li, X.; Haskins, M.; German, A.J.; Shirazi-Beechey, S.P. (2011) Sodium/glucose cotransporter-1, sweet receptor, and disaccharidase expression in the intestine of the domestic dog and cat: two species of different dietary habits. American Journal Physiology, 300, R67-R75.

Spielman, A.I.; Pepino, M.Y.; Feldman, R.; Brand, J.G. (2010) Technique to collect fungiform (taste) papillae from human tongue. Journal of Visual Experimentation, 18, pii 2201.

Joseph Brand

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