Monell Chemical Senses Center Announces Major Grant From The Ambrose Monell Foundation

55 years after its initial contribution, the Monell Foundation makes a transformational investment.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – January 21, 2022 – The Monell Chemical Senses Center, a global leader in taste and smell research, announced today it has received a grant of up to $26 million from its founding benefactor, The Ambrose Monell Foundation. The funding represents the largest single donation the Center has received since its founding, securing its position as the premier independent basic research institute for taste, smell, and related senses.

This investment will support the Center’s ambitious strategic plan to ensure the Center’s primacy in chemosensory research for decades to come by expanding and diversifying its expertise through recruiting and nurturing its next generation of scientists and enhancing its physical infrastructure and research environment to advance human health and well-being. The funds would be disbursed in grants of $5.2 million per year over five years with each disbursement being conditioned upon the achievement of certain milestones.

“This grant is an extraordinary opportunity for decades to come to advance our legacy of superlative chemosensory discovery into meaningful breakthroughs in improving public health,” said Monell Director Robert Margolskee, MD, PhD. “Building on our long history of fundamental basic and translational science, the Monell Center is accelerating that vision in the midst of historic times.”

“From its inaugural grant 50-plus years ago to today, the Foundation has been a visionary partner in driving Monell’s mission to improve global health by advancing the scientific understanding of taste and smell to newly appreciated relevance,” said David Macnair, PhD, chair of the Monell Center Board of Directors.

“In retrospect, one of our Foundation’s boldest decisions was to award a grant back in 1967 to establish the Monell Chemical Senses Center,” said Ambrose K. Monell, president and director of the Monell Foundation. In 1967, the Foundation made an initial investment to create the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Fifty-five years later, the Foundation’s original decision has paid off as Monell’s basic discoveries in taste and smell are enriching health outcomes in ways no one could have ever imagined. “With this grant,” added Ambrose K. Monell, “we intend to plant the seeds for the Center’s success for the next 55 years and we await the Center’s continued contributions to the world of sensory science.”

Monell’s strategic plan maps out four forward-looking research initiatives: improve nutritional health by expanding research on diet-related disorders through the emerging field of sensory nutrition; develop new ways to detect changes in body chemicals that signal disease and enlist chemosensory cells to fight pathogens; restore and prevent loss of smell and taste using regenerative medicine and sensory training; and digitize taste and smell, delivering odors, tastes, and sensations instantaneously to individuals around the world using new technology and devices. The Monell Foundation’s latest major investment will support advances in all of these areas.


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