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Students in a sensory consumer science lab
Graduate Certificate in
Sensory and Consumer Science


Postdoc, Alcohol/Behavioral Genetics, Brown University
Ph.D., Nutrition, University of Connecticut
Graduate Certificate, Quantitative Research Methods (Psychology), University of Connecticut
M.S., Food Science (Sensory Science), Cornell University
B.S., Food Science, Cornell University

Dr. John E. Hayes studies food choice in a biobehavioral framework by integrating traditional sensory science methods with behavioral genetics to understand biological factors that may cause individuals to like and consume some foods but not others. Dr. Hayes is also interested in using sensory science methods to increase the user acceptability of various drug delivery systems. He teaches courses in fundamentals of sensory science and ingestive behavior.

Postdoc, Wine Sensory Science & Flavor Chemistry, UC Davis
Ph.D., Chemistry, Graz University of Technology
M.S., Polymer Science & Engineering, University of Leoben
B.S., Polymer Science & Engineering, University of Leoben

Dr. Helene Hopfer's work focuses on the human-food interface. She studies how food composition and structure affect human perception and food choice and combines sensory and consumer science with analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis, and multivariate statistics to elucidate the impact of production, processing, storage, and presentation on perception. Dr. Hopfer is also interested in improving flavor of plant products by linking sensory science to the breeding process more effectively. She teaches courses in data analysis (Sensometrics) and chemical methods of food analysis.

Ph.D., Food Science, Rutgers University
MBA, Marketing and Finance, Miami University
M.S., Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University
B.S., Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University

Dr. Sarah V. Kirkmeyer’s focus is on consumer insights and sensory evaluation for new product innovation, leveraging qualitative, quantitative, and hybrid consumer research; sensory methods including descriptive, discrimination, and affective research; and advanced analytics. She combines her educational background with years of experience in industry with global consumer product companies, the flavor and fragrance industry, and market research across a variety of food and non-food categories. Dr. Kirkmeyer is the Senior Manager of User Research at Kroger and is conducting consumer perception research at Penn State together with teaching FDSC 516 Consumer Insights.

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