Christopher Simons earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Oregon, his M.S. degree in Physiology from Portland State University in Portland, OR and his Ph.D. in Sensory Science from the University of California, Davis. Subsequently, Chris completed post-doctoral fellowships in the Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Sensorielle [Sensory Neurobiology Laboratory] at the Ecole Pratiques des Hautes Etudes in Massy, France and the Unités de Formation et Recherche de la Odontologie [Dental School] at the Universite Paris 7. From 2004 through 2012 Chris led the Sensory Research function at Givaudan Flavors Corp. and joined the faculty in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the Ohio State University in 2013. Chris’ research interests use a multidisciplinary approach to understand the perception of foods and how they are processed to influence reward and ultimately behavior. One outcome of this research is to identify the neural and physiological correlates associated with perception, liking, and food choice through the use of a variety of methodologies including human sensory testing or psychophysics, electrophysiology, and behavioral measurements. Another outcome is to leverage the knowledge gained from these types of investigations into the development of new methodologies that assist in the creation of better foods. In 2017, Chris was awarded the Barry Jacobs Memorial Award for Research in the Psychophysics of Human Taste and Smell by the Association for Chemoreception Sciences and in 2018 he received the Educator Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture association.
How I got into this field:
After completing my MS degree, I was interested in becoming a winemaker but found the intersection of food science, neuroscience, and human behavior more fascinating. My time in industry confirmed the important role of sensory science in product development but also exposed areas of needed investigation. The current research program at OSU reflects these experiences with the goal to provide industry unique insights and tools to measure human perception, liking, and consumer behaviors.
Time at OSU/Most Proud:
At OSU since January 2013. Most proud of the strong sensory science program established at OSU. Highly intelligent and motivated students drive the research forward while developing the skills necessary to make impactful contributions to the global sensory network. In addition, our strong industry connections enable us to leverage our research through stakeholder partnerships and support of corporate product research efforts.
Why you love your job:
The opportunity to conduct cutting-edge sensory research, provide industry partners with actionable guidance to product development efforts, while simultaneously mentoring and interacting with the next generation of sensory scientists is exciting and inspiring. What’s not to like about that!