Dr Helene Hopfer is an Assistant Professor of Food Science at Penn State, where she works at the intersection of sensory and consumer science and flavour chemistry. She holds a MS in polymer science and a PhD in chemistry from TU Graz, Austria, for her work on aroma compounds in polyolefin materials. For her postdoc with Drs Heymann and Ebeler at UC Davis, her work focused on the impact of winemaking, packaging and storage on the sensory and chemical properties of wines. Before joining Penn State, Helene developed a sensory-assisted breeding framework for a vegetable seed company. At Penn State, her research uses sensory and consumer science, analytical and flavour chemistry, and multivariate statistics to elucidate the impacts of genetics, processing, storage and presentation on perception. Her activities focus on three broad areas:

(1) Understanding sensory and chemical mixtures

(2) Linking human perception to plant genetics

(3) Measuring and understanding differences in quality perception.

The Hopfer lab works in many different food matrices, including wine, cocoa and chocolate, coffee and dairy. Helene’s work has been disseminated in more than 30 articles and chapters, and she currently serves as an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Enology & Viticulture.

Helene will be addressing Is wine quality in the mouth of the beholder? Evaluation of wine quality and regionality with trained panellists, winemakers and consumers on Tuesday in Session 7.