Our senses are our window to our environment. We get information through them allowing us to react, to learn, to survive. The interest of scientists from different disciplines in our sensory perception is unbroken today, especially facing constantly accelerating technological development...
...because we increasingly realize that we can only understand ourselves better by combining the knowledge and intellect of different disciplines. In order to develop tools that help us to explore our sensory perception even better, but also to teach machines what "makes sense", and ultimately even to support our own perception.
Although we're well-equipped through evolution...there's always potential for improvement.
Professor Andrea Buettner:
Andrea read for an undergraduate degree in food chemistry at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, and then completed her postgraduate and postdoctoral research at both the German Research Center for Food Chemistry (DFA) and the Technical University of Munich from 1995 to 2002. Following her habilitation to qualify for full professorship in 2007 she was appointed and still holds two concurrent positions, both as Founder and Head of the Department of Sensory Analytics at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising, Germany, and of the Odor and Aroma Research Group at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. Andrea has received several accolades for her research, including the Kurt-Täufel Prize for young scientists from the Food Chemistry Division of the German Chemistry Society (2010), the Young Investigator Award from the Food and Agricultural Division of the American Chemical Society (2011), the Danone Innovation Prize (together with Caroline Siefarth, 2012), and the Nutricia Science Award (2013). Since 2012, Andrea has held a position as Full Professor of Aroma Research at FAU in Erlangen.
Andrea’s expertise encompasses the characterization of the main odor triggers in aromas, flavors, and commonodors. Specifically, Andrea is renowned for identifying and characterizing the primary odor triggers in typical aromas, flavors, fragrances, and smells that are associated with everyday life. Amongst other things, her work involves disentangling and subsequently reconstructing characteristic smells, from food aromas to modern manmade materials, based on combined chemo-analytical and human-sensory characterization of the molecular odor constituents. Her specialized field extends to characterizing odorant release via on-line monitoring of distribution and delivery processes. This particular aspect of her work, for example, has provided insights into the importance of the combined effects of the food matrix, saliva, mucosa, mastication, and swallowing on flavor release and perception. In view of physiological processes related to odorant exposure and uptake, recent investigations have targeted pharmacokinetic aspects of odorant inhalation, absorption, biotransformation, and elimination via breath, urine, sweat, and human milk. Accordingly, Andrea’s research aims to raise awareness of smell and odor dimensions in human life, especially in common, everyday situations. Her goal is to cross-link technological, chemical, or physiological aspects and to provide novel solutions in odor research. Novel or modified techniques, methodologies, processing technologies, analytical tools, and approaches related to smell are further outcomes of her research strategy, with the ultimate aim to nourish interdisciplinary cross-talk on a topic that links chemical, analytical, material, and process engineering sciences with the fields of sociology and socio-ecology, psychology, and physiology.