• Meet our scientists!

    Here's our SPITting images

    Photo of Dr. Running

    Dr. Cordelia Running

    Boss lady. Fount of nerdy food facts. Saliva enthusiast.

    Dr. Cordelia Running created the SPIT Lab. She loves food, and she loves chemistry. But more than both, she loves using chemistry to help other people love their food.


    She came up with our cheesy SPIT lab acronym because when you try to recruit people to participate in the "Running lab" they get really confused when you feed them things...


    Check out Dr. Running's Google Scholar page to see her list of published research.

    Photo of Lissa Davis

    Lissa Davis

    PhD student

    Lissa joined the SPIT lab in fall 2018 as a doctoral student in Nutrition Science. She's working on a project for the National Institutes of Health about how eating certain flavors, like bitter, spicy, or fatty flavors, changes in saliva proteins--in ways that may change those bitter, spicy, or fatty flavors!

    Check out her paper on bitter taste, diet, and saliva.

    Photo of Vinnie Valicente

    Vinícius Valicente

    PhD Student

    Vinnie comes to us from Brazil, where he earned Bachelor's degree in Food Engineering. He has experience working with extrusion technologies, natural dyes, bioactive compounds, as well as measuring rheology and processing milk and dairy products. He enjoys reading, watching movies, exercising, and graphic design. In the SPIT lab, he'll be working on projects to reduce sugar in beverages, particularly beverages popular among adolescents.

    Photo of Katy Pacheco

    Katy Pacheco

    Master's Student

    Katy joined us in fall 2020, after finishing a bachelor's degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois. She'll be working on a study analyzing how saliva interacts with snacks, and how the type of snacks you eat might change your saliva.

  • All of the undergrads

    Sorry folks--we can't take any more undergrads right now. Check in with Dr. Running in Summer 2022!

    Gummy bears

    Neyven Garal


    Neyven joined us in 2022 to work on the Vegetable Gummy Bear Game project with Lissa Davis.

    Mixed nuts and fruit

    Neha Kapur


    Neha teamed up with Katy Pacheco in 2022 to help complete the Snacks and Saliva study. She's working on going to Dental school.

  • SPIT Lab grads

    They've moved on, but their data remain forever!

    (hopefully in published form...)

    Clip art image of woman scientist

    Madeline Harder

    Bachelors in Food Science, 2022

    Madeline worked on project related to how people rate samples different when asked about them aloud vs when rating them on a screen. She then went on to grad school in Food Science at Penn State!

    Photo of Li-Chu Huang

    Li-Chu Huang

    Master's in Nutrition Science, 2021

    Li-Chu studied how spit (of course!) and fatty foods (mmm.....) may interact, and how that relates to dietary habits. Check out her paper on how spit and fatty taste may interact.

    Photo of Sarah Pitts

    Sarah Pitts

    Masters of Food Science, 2021

    Sarah is worked with both the SPIT lab and Dr. Lisa Mauer's lab, from Purdue's Food Science Department. Her graduate work studied sweetness and texture in reduced sugar foods. She then moved on to a sensory scientist position with Hershey's.

    Photo of Keona Lee

    Keona Lee

    Bachelors in Health Sciences, 2021

    Keona worked on how bitter taste in vegetables and fruits may interact with saliva. She graduated in 2021 and then went on to dental school, where she is spreading the story of saliva importance!

    Photo of Ryan Calvert

    Ryan Calvert

    Post-doctoral scholar, 2020

    Dr. Calvert joined the SPIT Lab to explore bioinformatics related to foods, eating, and health. In other words, he built a sparkly (literally) computer we are using to process terabytes of data we collected from salivary proteomic and dietary analyses. Check out some of Ryan's work on how scientists made molar solutions (possibly incorrectly) here.


    Photo of Madison Wierenga

    Madison Wierenga

    Bachelors in Public Health, 2020

    Maddy graduated from Purdue in 2020. Her research with us focused on how people experience chemesthesis, the chemical sense of irritancy, especially from carbonated beverages. Check out Maddy's work on carbonated beverages and sensation here.

    Photo of Ciera Crawford

    Ciera Crawford

    Masters in Food Science, 2018

    Ciera is the first graduate of the SPIT lab! She completes her Master's Degree in Food Science in 2018, which focused on how eating chocolate changes your spit, in ways that likely make that chocolate less bitter and astringent. So, perhaps the darker chocolate you eat, the darker chocolate you like. Check out Ciera's work on bitter taste, chocolate, and saliva here.


    Photo of Jonathan Kershaw

    Dr. Jonathan Kershaw

    Post-doctoral Scholar, 2018

    Dr. Kershaw was a post-doctoral scholar in the SPIT lab and is now faculty at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He worked on:

    Salivary conditioning

    Astringency and bitterness

    Fruits & Veggies to Flavor & Spit

    Sensory Scales

    Photo of Cameron Wicks

    Cameron Wicks

    Bachelors in Food Science, 2018

    Cameron graduated from Purdue in 2018 with an undergraduate degree in Food Science. She worked on several saliva collection studies, including our preliminary work on how special parts of the tongue might have special spit.

    Photo of Miguel Odron

    Miguel Odron

    Bachelors in Dietetics, 2017

    Miguel graduated from Purdue in 2017 with an undergraduate degree in Dietetics, earning himself some extra experience as a sensory scientist! He worked on everything. Seriously.