news highlights

A Matter of Taste

ICTP hosts European chemoreception conference

A matter of taste and smell: European Chemoreception Research Organization (ECRO) meeting at ICTP (credit: Unspash)
A matter of taste and smell: European Chemoreception Research Organization (ECRO) meeting at ICTP (credit: Unspash)


How do astronauts perceive smells during a mission? What are the novelties in the treatment of anosmia (loss of smell)? How different is our way of “smelling” things from that of a midge?

Smell and taste will be the focus of the annual European Chemoreception Research Organization (ECRO) meeting to be held at ICTP from 11 to 14 September, with local university SISSA (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati) as the co-organiser. Scientists will meet to take stock of the novelties in the research in chemoreception, encourage exchange of ideas and projects and consolidate international networks. The scientific programme of the event reveals a multidisciplinary approach to smell and taste, covering areas that range from medicine to aerospace research, and foresees the presence of numerous guests from the academic and the business world.

The annual ECRO meeting falls within the initiatives of proESOF, a series of activities leading to ESOF2020 Trieste.

One of the most eagerly awaited speakers of the ECRO conference is Linda Buck, Nobel Prize winner in 2004 for her pioneering studies on receptors and the functioning of olfactory systems. The scientist will give the proESOF plenary lecture entitled “Deconstructing smell”. A speech by Jonathan Beauchamp from the Fraunhofer IVV Institute (Germany) will also emphasise the multidisciplinary approach of the conference with his presentation of an ESA project that investigates olfactory perception in space to improve the wellbeing of astronauts during extra-terrestrial missions. An entire symposium will focus on smell loss, in particular on its epidemiology, the tools for clinically investigating this kind of dysfunction, and on the current and future treatment possibilities.

The European Chemoreception Research Organization was founded in 1970 in Holland. Its goal is to promote basic and applied research in chemoreception, especially smell and taste in vertebrates and invertebrates. ICTP and Trieste have been chosen to host the 29th edition of the event, one of the most important and eagerly awaited in this scientific sector.