Paule V. Joseph, CRNP, Ph.D.

Lasker Clinical Research Scholar

Section of Sensory Science and Metabolism (SenSMet)


Building 10, Room 2A07
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

We are addressing the following questions:

  • How is chemosensation altered in AUD and obesity and what molecular pathways are perturbated associated with chemosensation?
  • How processing of taste (fat, salt, umami, bitter, and sour) and smell in the brain influences hedonic responses, eating and alcohol seeking behaviors?
  • What are mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 affects the chemical senses?


Dr. Joseph is Lasker Clinical Research Scholar Tenure Track Clinical Investigator and Chief of the Section of Sensory Science and Metabolism (SenSMet) in Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research (DICBR) at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism with a joint appointment at the National Institute of Nursing Research. Dr. Joseph is conducting preclinical, clinical, and translational studies to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and management of chemosensory disorders. The Section of Sensory Science and Metabolism (SenSMet) aims to understand neurological and molecular mechanisms underlying chemosensation (taste, smell & chemesthesis) and motivational pathways of ingestive behaviors how they might be different in individuals with obesity and alcohol and substance use disorders. We are particularly interested in studying how the brain incorporates chemosensory information from the external environment and its internal states to guide eating/ingestive behavior. To achieve this goal, our laboratory conducts clinical-translational inpatient and outpatient studies. We use a combination of biobehavioral and innovative validated psychophysical methods for human studies. We also use imaging brain techniques, such as fMRI for olfaction and gustation. To provide mechanistic insight into our clinical research, we are also conducting preclinical studies using rodent models to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms that influence how the brain perceives the chemical senses (taste, smell, chemesthesis) and feeding behavior in a state of disease (e.g., obesity and substance use disorders). The SenSMet lab is currently investigating the interplay among biological and behavioral components of chemosensation in the context of diseases, with a particular emphasis on metabolic disorders like obesity and brain diseases, particularly alcohol and substance use disorders, given that both obesity and alcohol and substance use disorders share common brain mechanisms associated with the chemical senses. Besides, due to reports of taste and smell loss from individuals affected by COVID-19, our lab began investigating chemosensation and COVID-19. We are focused on understanding the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the chemical senses.

After earning her Ph.D. in Nursing with a focus in Genomics from the University of Pennsylvania and conducting her research at The Monell Chemical Senses Center, Dr. Paule Joseph completed a Workforce Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship at the NINR, in the laboratory of Dr. Wendy Henderson. Her postdoctoral research focused on combining clinical and basic research in a single research program by examining the brain-gut interactions related to gastrointestinal disorders (i.e., obesity and diabetes). In 2017, she was appointed as Assistant Clinical Investigator and Chief of the Sensory Science and Metabolism Unit (SenSMet) in the NINR Division of Intramural Research. Dr. Joseph has a Master's of Science as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Pace University, an AAS in Nursing at Hostos Community College, and a BSN from the College of New Rochelle. She is also a certified nurse practitioner.

Selected Publications

  1. Agarwal K, Demiral SB, Manza P, Volkow ND, Joseph PV. Relationship between BMI and alcohol consumption levels in decision making. Int J Obes (Lond). 2021;45(11):2455-2463.
  2. Joseph PV, Jaime-Lara RB, Wang Y, Xiang L, Henderson WA. Comprehensive and Systematic Analysis of Gene Expression Patterns Associated with Body Mass Index. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):7447.
  3. Joseph PV, Abey SK, Wang D, Fourie NH, Kenea ND, Vishnyakova TG, Robinson JM, Weaver KR, Boulineaux CM, Davidson HR, Sherwin LB, Ozoji O, Diallo AF, Smyser PA, Patterson AP, Henderson WA. Colon Epithelial MicroRNA Network in Fatty Liver. Can J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018;2018:8246103.
  4. Chao AM, Roy A, Franks AT, Joseph PV. A Systematic Review of Taste Differences Among People With Eating Disorders. Biol Res Nurs. 2020;22(1):82-91.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Monday, August 8, 2022