Yo Pearl Salutes Dr. Bev Tepper

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A great thing about being a scientist is working with collaborations and forging a timely and effective partnership. Truly, the Health Sciences Department here at the Museum could not exist without these key partners.


This week, Yo Pearl salutes Dr. Bev Tepper, an esteemed nutritionist who studies how sensory perception affects what we eat. Dr. Tepper currently serves as director of the Sensory Evaluation Laboratory at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and also as the Vice Chair of the Rutgers Institutional Review Board.

(For those of you who know me well enough, you can likely hear the echoes of the  Rutgers fight song ringing in your ears as you well know as I have a hard time not singing it whenever Rutgers is mentioned- RU Rah Rah!)


I first met Dr. Tepper at the 2010 Annual Meeting for the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, and then we reunited at this year's meeting. What drew me and my team to Bev and her work was that she was passionate and humble, her work explored the far reaches of what is being done with taste and nutrition, and last but not least, she was willing to help out newcomers to the field of chemoreception. I asked her if she would be willing to visit the Museum and our community-based lab and help us to navigate the next steps for conducting audience-focused research.


With that, Dr. Tepper found herself on a flight from Newark to Denver. She arrived on a Wednesday evening, and as it turns out, the Museum was hosting its annual Donor Awards Dinner, and so she came as my guest. It was a fabulous introduction to the Museum and to our incredible community that support us. We had cocktails in the dioramas and dinner in the atrium on the first floor. It was a great night to welcome a collaborator.

 DMNS Donor Event 0402

Dr. Tepper gave an engaging talk the next morning as part of our Health Sciences Seminar Series we host for our volunteers in the lab and in Expedition Health. The focus was nutrition and taste, and something interesting that we do not fully explore in our lab is how psychology really impacts what we eat. For example, consciously restricting your diet, being food adventurous and food neophobia are a few classifications that can override genetics. The seminar was followed by a brown bag lunch with staff and volunteers in the Harry T. Lewis Jr room that overlooks the park, the city and the mountains (I had to show off Colorful Colorado). Then we were down to business.


Dr. Tepper toured the lab and went through our enrollment protocols. She met with each staff member and learned about the excellent opportunities we have for working with the public and conversely, the challenges that go into making sure our research is available to the community and hold up to scientifically sound standards. We capped the visit off with a tour of the Rocky Mountain Taste and Smell Center and lunch with Dr. Tom Finger and Dr. Sue Kinnamon, both at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.


It was an incredible two days having Bev here to help us. We explored everything from the basic logistics of human participation to in depth collaborations and how our labs can dive into untouched subjects. Yo Pearl salutes Dr. Bev Tepper for her dedication to new ideas, unconventional collaborations and excellent science and science communication.



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