Smell and Taste Center


Welcome to the Vanderbilt Smell and Taste Center! Patients with smell and taste problems may have a wide variety of symptoms. Usually this includes a lack of (or reduction in) the ability to smell. Odor distortion is also possible, where things don't smell like they are supposed to, or sometimes people smell things that are not there.

Often, those with taste disorders have an underlying abnormality in the sense of smell, because that is the primary way we perceive flavor in food. This is very common.

At Vanderbilt we provide clinical evaluations for patients with these symptoms. This includes odor threshold testing, as well as screening for specific underlying medical conditions, which may be related to inflammatory or neurologic causes. Eligible patients may also want to participate in our ongoing clinical trials where we investigate causes for these disorders and explore the best ways of treatment.

In medical terminology, the sense of smell is also called olfaction while the sense of taste is known as gustation. More information about smell and taste disorders can be found here.

Read from Vanderbilt's own publication, The Reporter, about the Smell & Taste Center's conception, vision, and goals:


Our Team

Our Vanderbilt team of smell and taste specialists:

Rick Chandra, MD

Paul Russell, MD

Timothy Trone, MD

Justin Turner, MD, PhD 

Director, Olfactory Disorders Clinic


Here at Vanderbilt, we are at the forefront of new developments in the areas of taste and smell.


The Mechanism of Inflammation-mediated Olfactory Dysfunction in Chronic Rhinosinusitis 

Principal Investigator (Justin Turner, MD, PhD)

Loss of the sense of smell is common in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis and has substantial impacts on patient safety and quality of life. This project focuses on pro-inflammatory cytokines with neurotoxic potential as possible causative factors in rhinosinusitis-associated olfactory loss. Analysis of human-derived olfactory tissue will help clarify mechanisms of inflammation-associated olfactory dysfunction, with the potential for identification of specific therapeutic targets.


Selected References by Vanderbilt Faculty on Smell and Taste

1: Identification of Clinically Relevant Chronic Rhinosinusitis Endotypes using Cluster Analysis of Mucus Cytokines. Turner JH, Chandra RK, Li P, Bonnet K, Schlundt DG. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Feb 13. pii: S0091-6749(18)30224-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2018.02.002. [Epub ahead of print] No abstract available. PMID:29452200

2: Olfactory and middle meatal cytokine levels correlate with olfactory function in chronic rhinosinusitis. Wu J, Chandra RK, Li P, Hull BP, Turner JH. Laryngoscope. 2018 Feb 8. doi: 10.1002/lary.27112. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:29417576

3: Role of tissue eosinophils in chronic rhinosinusitis-associated olfactory loss. Hauser LJ, Chandra RK, Li P, Turner JH. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2017 Oct;7(10):957-962. doi: 10.1002/alr.21994. Epub 2017 Jul 25. PMID:28742240

4: Safety and tolerability of surfactant nasal irrigation. Turner JH, Wu J, Dorminy CA, Chandra RK. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2017 Aug;7(8):809-812. doi: 10.1002/alr.21959. Epub 2017 May 30. PMID:28558139

5: A genetic model of chronic rhinosinusitis-associated olfactory inflammation reveals reversible functional impairment and dramatic neuroepithelial reorganization. Lane AP, Turner J, May L, Reed R. J Neurosci. 2010 Feb 10;30(6):2324-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4507-09.2010. PMID:20147558

6: Cost effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging in the workup of the dysosmia patient. Decker JR, Meen EK, Kern RC, Chandra RK.Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2013 Jan;3(1):56-61. doi: 10.1002/alr.21066. Epub 2012 Jul 11. PubMed PMID: 22786891.

7: Efficacy of olfactory training in patients with olfactory loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Pekala K, Chandra RK, Turner JHInt Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2016 Mar;6(3):299-307. doi: 10.1002/alr.21669. Epub 2015 Dec 1. PubMed PMID: 26624966; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4783272.

8: Reversible loss of neuronal marker protein expression in a transgenic mouse model for sinusitis-associated olfactory dysfunction. Turner JH, May L, Reed RR, Lane APAm J Rhinol Allergy. 2010 May-Jun;24(3):192-6. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2010.24.3460. PubMed PMID: 20537285; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3021955.

Contact Us

To see how Vanderbilt can begin making a difference for you, contact our clinic at: 615-322-6180.

If you plan to visit us soon, our address is:

John S. Odess Clinic for Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery - (map)
Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center
1215 21st Ave.
Medical Center East, South Tower, 7th floor
Nashville, TN 37232