Paul Breslin, Ph.D.

Ph.D., Experimental Psychology; University of Pennsylvania 1991
Photo of Paul Breslin, Ph.D.

I am interested in the genetic basis of human oral perception and its impact on nutrient intake. The primary focus of my work is on taste perception with an emphasis on taste discrimination, taste enhancement and suppression, and taste localization. I also study oral irritation/chemesthesis, mouthfeel, and astringency. The interactions among gustation, chemesthesis, and olfaction that comprise flavor are the topic of an ongoing research program that includes fMRI as a tool to understand regional brain involvement. In addition to human research, I conduct parallel genetic studies of the chemical senses and nutrient intake in my Fly Lab, which uses Drosophila melanogaster as a model.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Platte, P., Herbert, C., Pauli, P., Breslin, P.A.S. (2013) Oral perceptions of fat and taste stimuli are modulated by affect and mood induction. PLoS One, 8, e65006. PMID: 23755167.
  • Wise, P.M., Breslin, P.A., Dalton, P. (2013) Effect of Taste Sensation on Cough Reflex Sensitivity. Lung. 2013 Oct 31. PMID: 24173385
  • Campbell, M.C., Ranciaro A., Zinshteyn, D., Rawlings-Goss, R., Hirbo, J., Thompson, S., Woldemeskel, D., Froment, A., Rucker, J.B., Omar, S.A., Bodo, J.M., Nyambo, T., Belay, G., Drayna, D., Breslin, P.A., Tishkoff, S.A. (2013) Origin and Differential Selection of Allelic Variation at TAS2R16 Associated with Salicin Bitter Taste Sensitivity in Africa. (2013) Molecular Biology and Evolutio. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24177185
  • Breslin, P.A.S. (2013) An evolutionary perspective on food and human taste. Current Biology, 23, R409-R418.
  • Wise, P.M. and Breslin, P.A.S. (2013) Individual differences in sour and salt sensitivity: Detection and quality recognition thresholds for citric acid and sodium. Chemical Senses, 38: 333-342. PMID: 23413310
  • Coldwell, S., Mennella, J., Duffy, V., Pelchat, M., Griffith, J., Smutzer, G., Cowart, B., Breslin, P.A.S., Bartoshuk, L., Hastings, L., Victorson, D., Hoffman, H. (2013) Gustation assessment using the NIH toolbox. Neurology, 80, Suppl. 3, 1-5.
  • Campbell, M.C., Ranciaro, A., Froment, A., Hirbo, J., Omar, S., Bodo, J.-M., Nyambo, T., Lema, G., Zinshteyn, D., Drayna, D., Breslin, P.A.., and Tishkoff, S.A. (2012). Evolution of functionally diverse alleles associated with PTC bitter taste sensitivity in Africa. Molecular Biology and Evolution, . PMID 22130969
  • Mandel, A.L and Breslin, P.A.S. (2012). High endogenous salivary amylase activity is associated with improved glycemic homeostasis following starch ingestion in adults Journal of Nutrition, 142, 853-858. [Cover Article]. PMID 22492122
  • Wise, P.M., Breslin, P.A., Dalton, P. (2012) Sweet taste and menthol increase cough reflex thresholds. Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 25, 236-241 PMID: 22465565
  • Peyrot des Gachons C., Mura, E, Speziale, C, Favreau, C.J, Dubreuil, G.F, Breslin, P.A.S. (2012) Opponency of astringent and fat sensations. Current Biology, 22, R829-R830. PMID: 23058798
  • Veldhuizen, M.G., J. Albrecht, C. Zelano, S. Boesveldt, P. Breslin,and J.N. Lundström (2011). Identification of humangustatory cortex byActivation Likelihood Estimation. Human Brain Mapping, PMID 21305668.NIHMS 250786 [Cover Article]
  • Peyrot des Gachons, C., K. Uchida, B. Bryant, A. Shima,J.B. Sperry,L. Dankulich-Nagrudny, M. Tominaga, A.B. Smith, III, G.K.Beauchamp,P.A.S. Breslin (2011). Unusual pungency from extra-virginolive oil isdue to restricted spatial expression of oleocanthal'sreceptor.Journal of Neuroscience, 31: 999-1009. NIHMS 250787 [CoverArticle]
  • Peyrot des Gachons, C., G.K. Beauchamp, R.M. Stern,K.L. Koch, P.A.S. Breslin (2011). Bitter taste induces nausea.Current Biology,21, R247-248 PMID 21481757 [Cover Article]
  • Wise, P. and P.A.S. Breslin (2011). Relationships amongtastequalities assessed with response-context effects. ChemicalSenses,Published Online. PMID: 21441368
  • Ozdener, M.H., J.G. Brand, A. Spielman, F.G. Lischka,J.H. Teeter, P.A.S. Breslin, N.E. Rawson (2011). Characterization of humanfungiform papillae cells in culture. Chemical Senses,PublishedOnline. PMID: 21471186 [Cover Article]
  • Greene, T.A., Alarcon, S., Thomas, A., Berdougo, E.,Doranz, B.J.,Breslin, P.A.S., and Rucker, J.B. (2011) Probenecidinhibits the humanbitter taste receptor TAS2R16 and suppresses bitterperception ofsalicin. PLOS One, 6: e20123. PMID 21629661
  • Campbell, M.C., Ranciaro, A., Froment, A., Hirbo, J.,Omar, S., Bodo,J.-M., Nyambo, T., Lema, G., Zinshteyn, D., Drayna, D., Breslin,P.A.S., and Tishkoff, S.A. (2011). Evolution offunctionally diversealleles associated with PTC bitter taste sensitivity inAfrica.Molecular Biology and Evolution. E-pub PMID 22130969
  • Feng, P., Wang, H., Feldman, R.S., Pribitkin, E.A., P.A.S.Breslin (2010). The T Cells in peripheral taste tissue of healthyhumanadults: Predominant Memory T Cells and Th-1 cells.Chemical Senses,35, 501-509. PMID:20457570. PMCID 2885746
  • Reed, D.R., G. Zhu, P.A.S. Breslin, F.F. Duke, A.K.Henders, M.J.Campbell, G.W. Montgomery, S.E. Medland, N.G. Martin, M.J.Wright(2010). The perception of quinine taste intensity isassociated withcommon genetic variants in a bitter receptor cluster onchromosome 12.Hum Mol Genet. 2010 E-Pub. PMID: 20675712. PMCID: 2951861
  • Mandel AL, C. Peyrot des Gachons, K.L. Plank, S. Alarcon, P.A.S.Breslin (2010). Individual differences in AMY1 gene copynumber,salivary α-amylase levels, and the perception of oralstarch. PLoSOne, 5, e13352. PMID: 20967220. PMCID: 2954178
  • Cicerale, S., Breslin, P. A. S., Beauchamp, G. K., & Keast, R. S. J. (2009, electronic publication). Sensory characterization of the irritant properties of oleocanthal, a natural anti-inflammatory agent in extra virgin olive oils. Chemical Senses. doi:10.1093/chemse/bjp006
  • Feng, P., Yee, K. K., Rawson, N. E., Feldman, L. M., Feldman, R. S., & Breslin, P. A. S. (2009, electronic publication). Immune cells of the human peripheral taste system: Dominant dendritic cells and CD4 T cells. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2009.02.016
  • Peyrot des Gachons, C., Beauchamp, G.K., P.A.S. Breslin (2009). The genetics of bitterness and pungency detection and its impact on phytonutrient evaluation. Annals of New York Of Academy of Science, 1170, 140-144. PMID: 19686123
  • Pitt, J., B. Roth, P. Lacor, M. Blankenship, P. Velasco, F. De Felice, P.A.S. Breslin, & W. L. Klein (2009). Alzheimer's-associated Aβ oligomers show altered structure, immunoreactivity and synaptotoxicity with low doses of oleocanthal. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 240, 189-197. PMCID: PMC2808212
  • Breslin, P. A. S. (2008, electronic publication). Multi-modal sensory integration: Evaluating foods and mates. Chemosensory Perception. doi 10.1007/s12078-008-9021-5
  • Breslin, P.A.S. and A.C. Spector (2008). Mammalian Taste Perception. Current Biology, 18, R148-R155. PMID: 18302913
  • Gordesky-Gold, B., Rivers, N., Ahmed, O. M., & Breslin, P. A. S. (2008). Drosophila melanogaster prefers compounds perceived sweet by humans. Chemical Senses, 33, 301-309.
  • Galindo-Cuspinera, V. & Breslin, P. A. S. (2007). Taste after-images: the science of "water tastes". Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 64, 2049-2052.
  • Wise, P. M., Hansen, J. L., Reed, D. R., & Breslin, P. A. S. (2007). Twin study of the heritability of recognition thresholds for sour and salty taste. Chemical Senses, 32, 749-754.
  • Breslin, P. A. S. & Huang, L. (2006). Human taste: Peripheral anatomy, taste transduction, and coding. Hummel, T. and Welge-Lüssen, A. Advances in Otorhinolaryngology 63, 152-190. Basel, Karger.
  • Galindo-Cuspinera, V., Winnig, M., Bufe, B., Meyerhof, W., & Breslin, P. A. S. (2006). A TAS1R receptor-based explanation of sweet ‘water-taste'. Nature, 441, 354-357.
  • Hakala, M. & Breslin, P. A. S. (2006). Genotypes of the hTAS2R38 receptor predict bitterness of selected vegetables. Current Biology, 16, R792-R794.
  • Sandell, M. A. & Breslin, P. A. S. (2006). Variability in a taste-receptor gene determines whether we taste toxins in food. Current Biology, 16, R792-R794.
  • Beauchamp, G. K., Keast, R. S. J., Morel, D. L. J., Pika, J., Han, Q., Lee, C.-H. et al. (2005). Ibuprofen-like activity in extra-virgin olive oil. Nature, 437, 45-46.
  • Bufe, B., Breslin, P. A. S., Kuhn, C., Reed, D. R., Tharp, C. D., Slack, J. P. et al. (2005). The molecular basis of individual differences in phenylthiocarbamide and propylthiouracil bitterness perception. Current Biology, 22, 322-327.
  • Diamond, J., Breslin, P. A. S., Doolittle, N., Nagata, H., & Dalton, P. (2005). Flavor processing: perceptual and cognitive factors in multi-modal integration. Chemical Senses, 30 Suppl 1, i232-i233.
  • Diamond, J., Dalton, P., Doolittle, N., & Breslin, P. A. S. (2005). Gender-specific olfactory sensitization: hormonal and cognitive influences. Chemical Senses, 30 Suppl 1, i224-i225.
  • Galindo-Cuspinera, V. & Breslin, P. A. S. (2005). The liaison of sweet and savory. Chemical Senses, 31, 221-225.
  • Keast, R. S. J. & Breslin, P. A. S. (2005). Bitterness suppression with zinc sulfate and na-cyclamate: a model of combined peripheral and central neural approaches to flavor modification. Pharmaceutical Research, 22, 1970-1979.
  • Nagata, H., Dalton, P., Doolittle, N., & Breslin, P. A. S. (2005). Psychophysical isolation of the modality responsible for detecting multimodal stimuli: a chemosensory example. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 31, 101-109.
  • Smith, A. B., III, Han, Q., Breslin, P. A. S., & Beauchamp, G. K. (2005). Synthesis and assignment of absolute configuration of (-)-oleocanthal: a potent, naturally occurring non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent derived from extra virgin olive oils. Organic Letters, 7, 5075-5078.


  • 1992-1994 NIH - NRSAward, PI
  • 1995-1997 Morley R. Kare Fellow
  • 1995 Moskowitz Jacobs Inc Award for Research Excellence in the Psychophysics of Taste and Smell
  • 1996-2001 NIH - FIRST Award, PI.
  • 2000-2002 Conditioned Metabolic Responses to Visual and Gustatory Cues Paired With Caloric Loads, Kellogg's Corporate Citizenship Award, PI.
  • 2000 Firmenich International Flavour and Fragrance Award (First Awardee)
  • 2001 American Psychological Association (APA) Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of perception and motor performance.
  • 2006 Outstanding Speaker of the Year Award, Society of Cosmetic Chemists
  • 2007 Twinsdays Medical Research Grant
  • 2009 Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Explorations Award for Malaria Research
  • 2011 Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Explorations Award for Childhood Nutrition Research
  • 2014 International Life Sciences Institute, North America service award from the Food, Nutrition, and Safety Program.