A J Banks bursar Yuchi Shen reports from the 10th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium

16 Oct 2013

The Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium is a biennial international meeting of sensory scientists held in honour of Rose Marie Pangborn. It aims to bring academic and commercial sectors together, and provide a networking opportunity for young scientists.

The 10th symposium was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August 2013. Topics covered included the fundamentals of sensory research, advances in sensory methodologies, food choice and consumer behaviour, cross-cultural and income-related research, sensory properties for health and wellness, and sensometrics.

I found that most of the sessions were useful and gave me a chance to update my knowledge within my research area. As a second year PhD student, it was a great opportunity to present two posters based on my PhD research to an international audience and discuss them with experts in the field.

My research mainly focuses on the genetic difference in taste ability and the influence on food perception, preference, and intake, which is still novel in this field. The feedback and suggestions I received were very useful in helping shape the direction of my research in preparation for the final year of my PhD, and also to identify more new ideas for the future.

I met a wide variety of sensory professionals including leaders in my field of research. I am now exploring potential avenues of research with many of these, and have established links with several scientists in my field, which may lead to collaborations in the future.

After the poster presentation section, over 50 researchers contacted me about my work and one such contact has led to direct collaboration between me and a research group in Italy that should lead to more analysis and data interpretation of my samples.

I was so glad that this meeting provided me with the opportunity to hear original research findings from different scientific areas and also discover their industrial applications. In addition, I also had the chance to learn presentation skills and discover useful tips about how to improve in both the oral and poster sections.

The conference was held for the first time outside Europe and North America, and we much enjoyed the warm hospitality and friendship of our Brazilian hosts. We had the chance to tour around the city, and saw some of the most famous places in Rio, including Sugarloaf Mountain, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the southern beaches, and Corcovado mountain.

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the selection committee of SCI for awarding me the AJ Banks Travel Bursary award. Without the great support from SCI, it would not have been possible to present my work at this important international conference.

Yuchi Shen
University of Reading

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