Dr. Peihua Jiang, Monell Chemical Senses Center

Evolution of mammalian taste and smell



Dr. Jiang's presentation will discuss the evoluation of the gustatory and olfactory systems and why some animals lost the ability to taste and smell over time. Chemosensation is distributed unevenly in the animal kingdom. Factors that influenced the evolution of the senses are the environment and the diet of the animal. 



Dr. Jiang received his Bachelor degree in biology at Nankai University in Tianjin, China and his Masters degree in biophysics at the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his PhD. in Neurobiology from the University of Pittsburgh, where he discovered that CD47 is the receptor for SIRPα. He then went on to receive his post-doctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied the role of oxidative stress in the selective vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease under the supervision of Dr. Teresa Hastings. He also studied at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he researched the structural and functional relationships of taste receptors under the supervision of Dr. Robert Margolskee. Dr. Jiang joined Redpoint Bio as a senior scientist in 2007 and moved to the Monell Chemical Senses Center in 2009. Promoted to Assistant Member in 2012, he is currently an Associate Member of the Monell Center. His laboratory uses a combined molecular biology, cell biology, animal physiology approach to aim to provide a better understanding of how taste receptors evolved, how taste stem cells maintain taste tissue homeostasis, and how intestinal “taste-like” tuft cells sense pathogens.



  • Freund JR, Mansfield CJ, Doghramji LJ, Adappa ND, Palmer JN, Kennedy DW, Reed DR, Jiang P, Lee RJ. Activation of airway epithelial bitter taste receptors by Pseudomonas aeruginosa quinolones modulates calcium, cyclic-AMP, and nitric oxide signaling. J Biol Chem. 2018; 293:9824-9840.
  • Jiao H, Wang Y, Zhang L, Jiang P, Zhao H. Lineage-specific duplication and adaptive evolution of bitter taste receptor genes in bats. Mol Ecol. 2018; 27(22):4475-4488.
  • Lei W, Ravoninjohary A, Li X, Margolskee RF, Reed DR, Beauchamp GK, Jiang P. Functional Analyses of Bitter Taste Receptors in Domestic Cats (Felis catus). PloS One. 2015; 10(10):e0139670.
  • Jiang P, Josue-Almqvist J, Jin X, Li X, Brand J, Margolskee R, Reed D, Beauchamp G. The bamboo-eating giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) has a sweet tooth: Behavioral and molecular responses to compounds that taste sweet to humans. PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(3):e93043.
  • Jiang P, Josue J, Li X, Glaser D, Lia W, Brandaet JG, et al. Major taste loss in carnivorous mammals. P Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012; 109:4956-4961.
  • Liu B, Ha M, Meng XY, Kaur T, Khaleduzzaman M, Zhang Z, Jiang P, Li X, Cui M. Molecular mechanism of species-dependent sweet taste toward artificial sweeteners. J Neurosci. 2011; 31(30):11070-11076.