Association for Chemoreception Sciences
The Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AChemS) is a professional society for basic science and clinical researchers studying normative and disease processes in the chemoreception and chemosensory sciences, such as found in the olfactory and taste systems. The mission of AChemS has been divided into five core areas: (1) to advance the understanding of chemosensory mechanisms by bringing to one forum the variety of different scientific disciplines currently being used to approach the chemical senses; (2) to encourage basic, clinical, and applied research in the chemical senses; (3) to promote an appreciation, beyond the chemosensory community itself, of the need and impact of chemosensory research; (4) to act as an identifiable organ representing the interests of the chemosensory research community; and (5) to act as an identifiable directory for those requiring particular types of chemosensory expertise.
In 1978, Dr. Maxwell M. Mozell, a renowned professor in neuroscience and physiology at State University of New York Health Science Center, founded AChemS. Mozell received a planning grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to initiate the formation of the association. With the help of 10 colleagues, who studied the chemical senses, the group planned its first research meeting, which was held in Sarasota, Florida, in April 1979. The annual meeting continued to be held in Sarasota until it became too large for the venue in 2010. The meeting is still held in Florida but is located at hotels and conference centers that are large enough to accommodate the higher number of meeting attendees and poster presentations. The annual meeting has evolved into the United States’ major forum for presenting advances in chemical senses research.
In addition to the annual meeting, AChemS sponsors a bimonthly journal, Chemical Senses, which is published by Oxford University Press. Chemical Senses publishes original research that includes all aspects of chemosensory biology, including taste, smell, vomeronasal, and trigeminal chemoreception in both vertebrates and invertebrates. An important part of the journal’s coverage is devoted to techniques and the development and application of new methods for investigating chemoreception and chemosensory structures. Such research ranges from behavioral studies to molecular approaches to electrophysiology of chemosensory neurons. Mozell was the executive editor of the journal Chemical Sciences from 1992 to 1998. Today, the current editor-in-chief is German scientist Wolfgang Meyerhof.
In the United States, most chemoreception research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH’s mission is “to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.” The institute that provides competitive grants for chemosensory research is the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). The areas of research supported by the NIDCD include but are not limited to biophysics and mechanics of sensory cells; cell biology of sensory cells and neurons; development, plasticity, and regeneration; functional and molecular imaging; genetics; hearing and balance; ion channels, receptors, and molecular signaling; taste and olfaction; tumor biology; and, voice, speech, and language.
The NIH is the main federal agency that oversees how medical research is performed, particularly clinical trials. The NIH provides guidelines and training to make sure that research is executed ethically toward people and animals. Clinical trials examine new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases. They are designed to allow researchers and patients to examine whether a particular type of treatment or medication is more or less effective than a placebo (no treatment) and also to determine if the treatment is safe. Thus, clinical trials are evidence-based research that helps health care providers deliver effective treatments to patients. The general public as well as health care providers are encouraged to look up multiple health topics on the NIH website and receive up-to-date, current research information. Topics include obesity, diabetes, cancer, and nutritional facts labels.
Jennifer L. Hellier
See also: Anosmia; Olfactory System; Taste System
Association for Chemoreception Sciences. (2014). About AChemS. Retrieved from http://www.achems.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3277
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). (2015). Research. Retrieved from http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/research/Pages/Default.aspx
National Institutes of Health. (2015). Turning discovery into health. Research & training. Retrieved from http://www.nih.gov/science/education.htm