Dr. Lee’s research focuses on utilization of innovative sensory methodologies to solve technological issues in food science as well as health-related issues pertaining to nutritional sciences. Dr. Lee’s current research projects include, 1) developing strategies to reduce sodium in foods, 2) utilizing microencapsulation technology to enhance healthfulness of food systems, 3) defining the elements of picky eating in children and identifying parental influences on picky eating, and 4) comparing power of sensory discrimination tests, and 5) comparing bipolar and bivariate conceptualization in consumer acceptance test methodology.
The ultimate goal of my research is to utilize innovative sensory methodology to develop health-targeted new product alternatives and to encourage lifelong healthful eating habits. Sensory science is defined as a discipline by which human subjects use their senses to evoke, measure, analyze and interpret reactions to sample products either qualitatively and/or quantitatively. As it is a comparatively young discipline, many research opportunities still exist to advance the foundational knowledge of the field.As a sensory scientist, I have two main research foci, around which I build my research program: 1) development of novel sensory evaluation methods which can be utilized in the formulation of health-targeted new products, and 2) expansion of the methodological basis of sensory science to add to the foundational knowledge in the field by constructing new theories in how to better conduct sensory tests as well as validating the theory by empirical data. Application of novel sensory methodology customized for the products of interest is one of the key elements for successful new product development. Products that are intended to promote health and well-being are developed and launched at a rapid rate in industry; however, only few are truly successful in the end. People find it difficult to endure diet regimens or consume functional food products that are not acceptable or palatable. Successful products can be developed only through systematic and iterative processes of development, assessment and reformulation of the concepts and prototypes. Thus, sensory evaluation is a critical component of new product development, from the initial point of prototype conceptualization to the final point of consumer acceptance testing of the products. My current research projects include, 1) developing novel functional food products, such as soy- or ginseng-based products, 2) characterizing innate and process-derived soy and ginseng flavors and identifying methods to reduce off-flavors, 3) defining the elements of picky eating in children, and 4) comparing conventional bipolar 9-point hedonic scale to unipolar liking and disliking scales.