Linda Kennedy

Linda M. Kennedy

Associate Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
Clark University
15 Maywood St.
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Ph.D., Harvard University, 1980

Current Research and Teaching

Our research is concerned with sensory neurobiology, specifically with the taste system. Although I am interested in all aspects of gustatory function, work in my group has focused on the sweet taste. Neurophysiology, animal behavior, biochemistry, genetics, and human perception research techniques are used to examine how a taste receptor cell on the tongue can identify a sweet substance, and how the cell transduces and codes information about the substance into an electrical signal that is meaningful to the brain. Our data may contribute to the prevention and treatment of nutrition-related disorders, as well as aid the development of new approaches to the sweetening of foods.

Our neurophysiological, biochemical and behavioral work focuses on flies -- P. regina and Drosophila species -- as relatively simple model systems. We conduct human psychophysical studies at the same time to extend, clarify and confirm the significance of the model system data. Currently, a major effort is directed at understanding the sweet taste mechanisms by classical and genetic techniques in both the model and human systems. Ongoing work invovles collaborations with Clark faculty in chemistry and with chemosensory colleagues at other universities, including New York University and Yale. My students and I are actively involved in the greater neuroscience community through our collaborations and participation in national and international associations.

Selected Publications

Kobayashi, C. and L.M. Kennedy. 2002. Experience-induced increases in taste sensitivity for monosodium glutamate, Physiol. Behav. 75/1-2: 57-63.

Higgins, T. and L.M. Kennedy. 2001. Sweet taste receptor mechanisms: Stimulating effectiveness of high intensity sweeteners and sweetener enantiomers for sugar receptor cell firing in the blowfly, Phormiaregina, Chem. Senses 26.

Sullivan, K.D., B. Adamiak and L.M. Kennedy. 1999. Human taste sensitivity to glucose is greater after repeated exposure to fructose rather than to glucose in lemonade. Chem. Senses 24: 610.

Foster, K.D., A.I. Spielman and L.M. Kennedy. 1999. Rapid kinetics of receptor cell firing and second messenger modulation in an insect system. Chem. Senses24: 596.

Eylam, S. and L.M. Kennedy. 1998. Experience-induced ncreases in sensitivity for glucose in human glucose-hypogeusics or for fructose in fructose-hypogeusics. Chem. Senses 23: 588-589.

Armstrong, M.A, N.Feroz, M.L.Henderson, Y.Katsman, H.Parmar, L.M. Scarsella and L.M. Kennedy. 1998. Human taste mechanisms for pyranose and furanose sugars. Chem. Senses 23: 557-558.

Kennedy, L.M., K.D. Foster, D.E. Kolodny and A.I. Spielman. 1998. Studies of sweet taste mechanisms in an insect model system. Jpn. J. Taste Smell Res.5: 249-250.

Eylam, S. and L.M. Kennedy. 1997. Identification and characterization of human fructose or glucose taste variants with hypogeusia for one monsaccharide but not the other. In: Olfaction and Taste XII, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., C. Murphy (ed.): 170-174..

Kennedy, L.M., S. Eylam, J.E. Poskanzer, and A.-R. Saikku. 1997. Genetic analyses of sweet taste transduction. Food Chem. 60: 311-321.

Foster, K.D., and L.M. Kennedy. 1995. Sweet taste transduction mechanisms: Additive effects of hodulcin and IBMX. Chem Senses 20: 70 (abstract).

Kennedy, L.M., and J.E. Poskanzer. 1994. Isolation of variants for fructose or glucose taste from a natural population of Hawaiian Drosophila adiastola. In: Olfaction and Taste XI, K. Kurihara, N. Suzuki, and H.Ogawa (eds.). Tokyo: Springer- Verlag., 237.

Kennedy, L.M., D.M. Bourassa, and M.E. Rogers. 1993. The cellular and molecular neurobiology2 of sweet taste: Studies with taste- altering compounds. In: Sweet Taste Reception (M. Mathlouthi, J.A. Kanters, and G.G. Birch, eds.). London: Chapman and Hall, pp. 317-351