Dr. Avery Gilbert – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

Dr. Avery N. Gilbert is a smell scientist, entrepreneur, and author. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a scientific pioneer in the areas of olfactory mental imagery, multisensory correlates of odor perception, and the psychological factors that bias odor judgments. Gilbert is a fragrance industry innovator who created a sensory psychology research group for a major international fragrance company, founded three olfactory-related startup companies, and served as an advisor to two others. His book What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life was a finalist for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize in Science & Technology, and short-listed for the Royal Society Science Book Prize.

Dr. Gilbert’s training in evolutionary biopsychology led him to academic research on odor perception and later to commercial R&D management and entrepreneurship. Gilbert graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, and holds an MA in biology and PhD in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Following an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, he joined the Monell faculty. While there he co-authored the National Geographic Smell Survey—the largest participatory experiment of its kind. Gilbert left academia to create and lead the Sensory Psychology research group at Givaudan Roure Fragrances, and became a vice president there.

Gilbert runs Synesthetics, Inc., a company that provides innovative, multisensory research for the development and marketing of consumer products. Clients include leading brands in air care, personal care, and fine fragrance.

Gilbert’s entrepreneurial experience includes a stint at DigiScents, Inc., where he was a member of the founding management team and Vice President for Sensory R&D.  The company developed technology to deliver smell via electronic media and the Internet. Gilbert also founded and later sold Cranial One Corporation, which produced the Cranial I Quick Sniff® smell test and marketed it to doctors via an e-commerce Web site.

Dr. Gilbert is a member of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences and the European Chemoreception Research Organization. He has published twenty-nine scientific articles. Gilbert’s work is often cited in the media, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, New York Times, Boston Globe, The Economist, BusinessWeek, and Newsweek. He has discussed the science of smell on national television and radio, including FOX, NPR, CNN, CBS and MSNBC. Gilbert blogs on the science and culture of smell at He speaks frequently to professional groups on scientific and marketing trends in olfaction.

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Twitter: @scienceofscent