Robert F. Margolskee, MD PhD NPOD Mentors and Members
Director & President of the Monell Chemical Senses Center
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
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Dr. Margolskee’s basic science research focus has been on the molecular mechanisms of taste transduction, using molecular biology, biochemistry, structural biology, electrophysiology and transgenesis to study the mechanisms of signal transduction in mammalian taste cells. In 1992, his laboratory discovered gustducin, a taste cell-expressed G protein. Subsequently, Dr. Margolskee has demonstrated that gustducin is critical to the transduction of compounds that humans consider bitter, sweet or umami. Dr. Margolskee’s laboratory discovered the T1r3 sweet taste receptor in 2001 and the Trpm5 cation channel in 2002. Much of his current work is focused on taste-like “solitary chemosensory” cells throughout the body and endocrine properties of taste cells. In 2007 he published back-to-back papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy shedding light on how the gut ”tastes“ nutrients. His group identified the previously elusive adult taste stem cells. Mot recently he has identified gingival solitary chemosensory cells in the gums that protect against periodontal disease.