John Glendinning

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Biology

Professor Glendinning joined the Barnard faculty in 1996. His research seeks to understand the physiological underpinnings one of life's great pleasures: eating. He is interested in how the brain uses input from sensory systems in the mouth and gut to determine (a) the chemical composition of foods, (b) whether we like or dislike a particular food, and (c) which metabolic responses should be activated (e.g., insulin release) to facilitate post-absorptive processing of the food. He also examines how pre- and post-natal experience with foods can make them taste better (or worse). His most recent projects have addressed the following questions:

  1. How does taste input interact with other feeding-related inputs (e.g., sensory inputs from the gut) to stimulate or inhibit feeding?
  2. Why does fetal alcohol exposure make alcohol more acceptable to adolescents?
  3. Can mammals distinguish between sugars and artificial sweeteners? If so, how?
  4. How does the mere taste of glucose stimulate insulin release from beta cells in the pancreas?
  5. Why do cancer chemotherapy treatments make foods unpalatable?

He investigates these questions in rodents, using a combination of behavioral, electrophysiological, and molecular approaches.

Recent Publications (Barnard and Columbia students in Italics):

Glendinning JI, Tang J, Allende APM, Bryant BP, Youngentob L, Youngentob SL (2017) Fetal alcohol exposure reduces responsiveness of taste nerves and trigeminal chemosensory neurons to ethanol and its flavor components. Journal of Neurophysiology 118: 1198–1209

Glendinning JI, Frim YG, Hochman A, Basile AJ, Lubitz G, Sclafani A (2017) Glucose elicits cephalic-phase insulin release in mice by activating K(ATP) channels in taste cells. American Journal of Physiology 312: R597–R610

Wang T, Glendinning J, Grushka M, Hummel T, Mansfield K (2017) Drug-induced taste disorders in clinical practice and preclinical safety evaluation. Toxicological Sciences 156(2): 315–324

Bachmanov AA, Bosak NP, Glendinning JI, Inue M, Li X, Manita S, McCaughey SA, Murata Y, Reed DR, Tordoff MG, Beauchamp, GK (2016) Genetics of amino acid taste and appetite. Advances in Nutrition 7 (Suppl): 806S–822S

Glendinning JI (2016) Do low-calorie sweeteners increase weight gain in rodents? Physiology & Behavior 164: 509–513.

Glendinning JI, Stano S, Holter M, Azenkot T, Goldman O, Margolskee RF, Vasselli J, Sclafani A (2015) Sugar-induced cephalic-phase insulin release is mediated by a T1r2+T1r3-independent taste transduction pathway in mice. American Journal of Physiology 309: R552-R560

Glendinning JI, Elson AET, Kalik S, Sosa Y, Patterson CM, Myers MG Jr, Munger SD (2015) Taste responsiveness to sweeteners is resistant to elevations in plasma leptin. Chemical Senses 40(4): 223-231

Villalba JJ, Miller J, Ungar E, Landau SY, Glendinning JI (2014) Ruminant self-medication against gastrointestinal nematodes: evidence, mechanism, and origins. Parasite 21, 31

McCaughey S, Glendinning JI (2013) Experience with sugar modifies behavioral but not taste-evoked medullary responses to sweeteners in mice. Chemical Senses 38(9): 793–802

Afroz A, Howlett N, Shukla A, Ahmad F, Batista E, Bedard K, Payne S, Morton B, Mansfield JH, Glendinning JI (2013) Gustatory receptor neurons in Manduca sexta contain a TrpA1-dependent signaling pathway that integrates taste and temperature. Chemical Senses 38(7): 605-617

Zukerman S, Glendinning JI, Margolskee RF, Sclafani A (2013) Impact of T1r3 and Trpm5 on carbohydrate preference and acceptance in C57BL/6 mice. Chemical Senses 38(5): 421–437

Glendinning JI, Gillman J, Zamer H, Margolskee RF, Sclafani A (2012) The role of T1r3 and Trmp5 in carbohydrate-induced obesity in mice. Physiology & Behavior 107: 50–58

Howlett N, Dauber K, Shukla A, Morton B, Glendinning JI, Brent E, Gleason C, Islam F, Izquierdo D, Sanghavi S, Afroz A, Aslam A, Barbaro M, Blutstein R, Borkova M, Desire B, Elikis A, Fan Q, Hoffman K, Huang A, Keefe D, Lopatin S, Miller S, Patel P, Rizzini D, Robinson A, Rokins K, Turlik A, Mansfield JH (2012) Identification of chemosensory receptor genes in Manduca sexta and knockdown by RNA interference. BMC Genomics 13: 211

Cocco N, Glendinning JI (2012) Not all sugars are created equal: some mask noxious tastes better than others in an herbivorous insect. The Journal of Experimental Biology 215: 1412-1421.


Laboratory in Physiology
Statistics and Research Design

Neuroscience & Behavior Senior Thesis Seminar


Office Hours: 

Tue 9 - 10

Wed 12 - 1


BA, Hampshire College
PhD, University of Florida

Post-doctoral training:
Florida State University

University of Florida

University of Arizona

In the News

Barnard College was awarded a second Beckman Scholars Award to support student research in biology, chemistry, and neuroscience and behavior.

In the summer and fall of 2017, Barnard's exceptional faculty were awarded multiple prestigious research grants and fellowships.

A new study authored by John Glendinning, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Biology, along with Ana Paula Morales Allende (’15) and Joyce Tang (’17) suggests that fetal alcohol exposure (FAE) reduces the taste system’s responsiveness to the bitter flavor and burning sensation of many varieties of alcoholic beverages.