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Status: 12.08.2020 18:00:55
Due to the retirement of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Meyerhof the department has
been closed on 30 September 2017.
The department focused on:
Research into the biological foundations of food preferences, the physiology of the sense of tase, and the interaction of taste sensation and metabolism, as well as a search for taste modulators.
An important task of nutritional research is to identify the causes of adiposity (pathological obesity) and develop new forms of treatment. Although the causality between hyperphagia (compulsive overeating) and adiposity has not been fully clarified, overeating is much more common among obese individuals than among those of normal weight. In our opinion, disturbances in the regulation of food intake apparently play an important role in the development of pathological obesity. We suspect that the sense of taste thereby assumes a major role.
Healthy foods and some medications are often rejected by consumers because of their bitter taste. It is therefore a major challenge for modern nutritional research to increase the acceptance of these foods and substances beneficial to health. One possibility is to use taste-modifying substances. However, this requires a detailed knowledge of the interaction of such substances with taste receptors on the human tongue.
The research goals of the department is to find out how gustatory information is perceived, processed, and transmitted to the brain’s centers to control food intake. In addition, it should be clarified how gustatory information affects the activity of such control centers. This research should lead to identification of pharmacological targets and ultimately allow manipulation of the nutritional control centers.
The following projects serve to achieve these goals:
• Isolation and characterization of human taste
receptors using molecular-biological and biochemical methods
• Phenotype-genotype association studies
• Functional analysis of gustatory signaling pathways from the mouth to the brain in animal models
• Depiction of gustatory neuronal networks in the brain of animal models
• Manipulation of gustatory neuronal networks in animal models
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