ECRO 2023 Program

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Information on these pages is subject to change.


The program will include symposia on diverse topics, such as:

·       Early development of the chemosensory brain

·       Lost in translation: the journey from fundamental science to product application

·       Parosmia: mechanisms, diagnosis and intervention

·       Acquisition and modification of flavor preferences

·       The social nose: Recent insights on chemical communication in humans

·       Smell and beyond: olfaction and its relation to the other senses

·       Chemosensing beyond the oral-nasal cavity, how diverse tissues can smell and taste

·       Flavor: Perception and Integration

·       Novel perspectives of mouse olfaction

·       Perfumery - bridging the gap between ancient art and modern science

·       And an interactive workshop on chemosensory creativity!

Stay tuned for further updates, as more symposia and workshops/events will be added!

Keynote speakers

Marianna Obrist, Professor of Multisensory Interfaces

Multi-Sensory Devices (MSD) Research Group

Department of Computer Science

University College London (UCL)


Keynote title: A Flavour of the Future of Multisensory Interfaces

Abstract: Multisensory experiences, that is, experiences that involve more than one of our senses, are part of our everyday life. We often tend to take them for granted, at least when our different senses function normally (normal sight functioning) or are corrected-to-normal (using glasses). However, closer inspection to any, even the most mundane experiences, reveals the remarkable sensory world in which we live in. While we have built tools, experiences and computing systems that have played to the human advantages of hearing and sight (e.g., signage, modes of communication, visual and musical arts, theatre, cinema and media), we have long neglected the opportunities around touch, taste, or smell as interface/interaction modalities. Within this talk I will share my vision for the future of multisensory human-computer interfaces, exemplified through emerging technologies and devices and discuss what role touch, taste, and smell experiences can play in the future.

Bio: Marianna Obrist is Professor of Multisensory Interfaces at UCL (University College London), Department of Computer Science and Deputy Director (Digital Health) for the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering. Her research ambition is to establish touch, taste, and smell as interaction modalities in human-computer interaction (HCI), spanning a range of application scenarios, from immersive VR experiences to automotive, and health/wellbeing uses. Marianna is also a Visiting Professor at the Material Science Research Centre at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London and was a Visiting Professor at the HCI Engineering Group at MIT CSAIL in summer 2019. Her recent research projects include an ERC PoC on digital smell training, EU FET on touchless interfaces for social interaction, and a UKRI centre on textiles circularity. Marianna is also co-founder and CSO of OWidgets LTD (OW Smell Made Digital) a University spin-out that is developing novel digital smell technology. She published over 100 articles, including high impact journals like Nature Scientific Reports, and leading HCI journals like ToCHI, IJHCS, and the premier HCI conferences ACM CHI, UIST. An overview of her work was recently published in the popular science book ‘Multisensory Experiences: where the senses meet technology’ by Oxford University Press.

Inge DePoortere, Professor of Translational Research for Gastrointestinal Disorders

Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders

University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium


Keynote title: Role of bitter taste receptors in the human intestine in the regulation of metabolism and innate immunity during obesity.

Abstract: forthcoming

Bio: Inge Depoortere is full professor at the University of Leuven in Belgium. She obtained her PhD in Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine in Leuven in 1991. After her postdoctoral studies, she was appointed in 2002 at KU Leuven and since 2008 she is head of the “Gut Peptide Research Lab” of the Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Depoortere is (co)promotor of (4) 15 doctoral theses. She has several teaching assignments within the program of biomedical sciences and medicine and is involved in several commissions of trust and expert committees. Her research is funded by national and European Horizon-HLTH-2022 funding.

The main research lines in her lab include:

1) the chemosensing mechanisms of epithelial cells in the gut

2) the effect of obesity and chemosensory components on intestinal stem cell biology in human intestinal organoids

3) the cross-talk between circadian clocks and nutrient sensing pathways in the gut to manage chronodisruption.

Ciarán G. Forde, Professor Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour

Chair of Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour, Division of Human Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands

Keynote title: Better living through Sensory: Exploring how the sensory properties of food can support healthier eating behaviors.

Abstract: forthcoming


Bio: Ciarán Forde is Professor and Chair of the Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour group in the Division of Human Nutrition and Health, at Wageningen University and Research. He leads research on how the sensory properties of foods influence calorie selection, eating behaviours and energy intake and metabolism across the life-span. Prof. Forde has published >120 scientific articles and book chapters, and his research has been presented at over 200 national and international meetings. He is an Executive Editor for the journal Appetite, Section Editor in ‘Nutrition Behaviour and Food Intake Regulation’ for the European Journal of Nutrition, and an editorial board member for Nutrition Bulletin, Journal of Future Food and Journal of Texture Studies. Before joining Wageningen Prof. Forde has previously spent over 18 years in public and private sector research roles in the UK (GSK), Australia (CSIRO) and Switzerland (Nestlé Research) and Singapore (A*STAR Clinical Nutrition Research Centre/National University of Singapore). He received his BSc (Hons) in Food Chemistry and a PhD in Sensory Science from the Department of Nutrition in University College Cork in Ireland.

Kara Hoover, Professor of Anthropology

Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Program Director, Office of International Science and Engineering, United States National Science Foundation

Keynote title: Smelling in the Past, the Wild, and the City

Abstract: The unifying theme of my research is adaptation to ecological challenges—e.g., migration to a new environment, climate change. Adaptation to an environment is driven by biology, ecology, behaviour, and culture. My work in human olfaction is centered on the evolutionary trajectory shaping human populations across space and time. I’ll cover three pillars of my work in this lecture. First, I’ll present my recent work smelling through Neandertal and Denisovan noses for the first time in 50,000 years. Second, I’ll present my work smelling in the wild or how our sense of smell operates in the built environment. This work will include some new research on human genetic variation in olfactory sensitivity. Third, I’ll present my work on sensory inequities, a term I use to describe how sensory environments vary, often due to differences in socio-economic status (as intersected by other demographic markers such as race/caste/ethnicity/tribe, gender, sexual orientation, and ability). This work is both theoretical and practical, with the latter aspect focused on olfactory impairment and COVID-19.

Bio: I am a biological anthropologist specializing in in human variation and adaptation relative to disease and disparity in a changing environment. My basic science research is on olfactory evolution, behaviour, genetics, and ecology. My applied research is on health disparities and sensory inequities created by climate change, environmental injustice, and pollution.

Emre Yaksi, Professor

Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, NTNU, Norway.

Koc University Hospital, Turkey.

Keynote title: Investigating sensory computations in small brains. 

Abstract forthcoming

Bio: Throughout his career, Dr Emre Yaksi developed and used optical, electrophysiological and genetic tools for studying neural computation in small genetically tractable animals, namely fruitfly and zebrafish. The unique combination of these novel technologies enables neuroscientists to design innovative experiments to study neural circuits, which were unthinkable only a few years ago. Together with his team, Dr. Yaksi investigates how sensory information is represented in the brain, and how it interacts with the internal states of the brain associated with adaptive behaviours.

Dr. Emre Yaksi received his B.Sc. (2001) in Molecular Biology at Middle East Technical University, Ankara-Turkey. He obtained his PhD (2007) at Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg-Germany. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow (2007-2010) at Harvard Medical School, Boston-USA. He was an assistant professor (2010-2015) at Neuroelectronics Flanders, at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Since 2015, Dr Yaksi is a professor at Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. Since 2022, Dr Yaksi is an adjunct professor at Koc University Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.

Astrid T. Groot, Professor of Population & Evolutionary biology

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam

Keynote title: Evolution of sex pheromone signals and responses

Abstract: Mate choice directly affects the level of gene flow between individuals within and between populations. Therefore, the evolution of sexual communication systems is likely an important determinant in the speciation process. Night-active Lepidoptera (moths) are ideal organisms to address these questions, because they are one of the most diverse group of animals (~140.000 species), with well-defined sexual communication: females produce a species-specific sex pheromone that attracts males from a distance, after which close-range courtship occurs which includes female choice (1,2), there is communication interference between sympatrically occurring species (3), and moths contain parasites that may affect their sexual attraction. Through a combination of genetic analyses and behavioural lab and field experiments, we investigate the genetic changes underlying sexual interactions that lead to population divergence, including QTL and transcriptomic analyses and CRISPR/cas9 experiments (4-7) and field studies on the biological relevance of this variation (8,9). We also measure the natural selection forces affecting sexual attraction, including parasites and pathogens (10,11), and try to extrapolate micro-evolutionary processes to macro-evolutionary biodiversity patterns (12,13).

1) Zweerus et al. 2021, Anim Behav 179; 2) Zweerus et al. 2022, Ecol Evol 12; 3) Groot et al 2006, PNAS 103; 4) Lassance et al. 2010, Nature 4661; 5) Groot et al. 2014, Proc B 281; 6) Koutroumpa et al. 2016, PNAS 1133; 7) Unbehend et al. 2021, Nat Comm 12; 8) Unbehend et al. 2014, Plos One 9; 9) Van Wijk et al. 2017, Sci Rep 7; 10) Barthel et al. 2015, BMC Evol Biol 15;  11) Gao et al. 2019, J Invert Pathol 170; 12) Groot et al. 2016, Annu Rev Entomol 61; 13) De Pasqual et al. 2021, TREE 36.


Bio: Astrid Groot received her PhD from Wageningen University in 2000, after which she moved to North Carolina State University (NCSU) as a postdoc, where after 3 years she became research assistant professor when she received her first personal grant. In 2007 she became group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (MPICE) in Jena, Germany, and in 2011 received a MacGillavry fellowship to become associate professor at the University of Amsterdam, which she combined with her group leader position at MPICE until 2017. In 2017 she became full professor and in 2018 department head at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at UvA.