Dr. Gerd Kobal

Dr. Gerd Kobal currently holds the position of Vice President, Sensory and Analytical Sciences at Altria Client Services Company in Richmond, Virginia.  A citizen of Germany, Dr. Kobal's background includes an M.D. from the Medical School of the University Erlangen-Nuremberg; a Ph.D. in Physiology and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology. He is the former Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychophysiology at the University of Bamberg, and former Professor of Physiological Pharmacology at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Dr. Kobal has been with Altria since 2001 having started his industrial career as Director of Sensory Research. He is a member of the ACS, former President of ECRO (European Chemoreception Research Organization), member of the New York Academy of Sciences and various other scientific organizations. Since 2002 he has served as a Temporary Member of the NIH study section review board Cognitive Neuroscience.

Dr. Kobal has published 138 peer reviewed papers and 50 book chapters and is the recipient of six patents with two patents pending. He appears on the Biomed Experts website as the #3 expert in the category of "Smell", and his article "..., olfactory performance assessed by the combined testing of odor identification, odor discrimination and olfactory threshold" is the single most frequently cited publication in the journal Chemical Senses.

Dr. Kobal is married with three children and resides in Goochland, VA.


Sensomics can be understood as the analysis of all (natural) product elements that are necessary for sensory perception. For the purpose of this presentation, however, sensomics is more narrowly defined as the science of flavor relevant chemicals.

Sensomics provides an in-depth analysis of flavor profiles by listing compounds, concentrations, and their potential interactions with other product elements. The typical Sensomics analytical process follows the following scheme:

  1. identifying the major flavor-relevant compoundsBthe goal is to find all compounds that contribute to the sensory experience;

  2. elucidation of chemical structures;

  3. quantification of flavor-relevant compounds as found in the product;

  4. translating compounds and concentrations into sensory perceptions and their strengths/intensities; and

  5. creating recombinants, i.e., the recombined set of isolated flavor compounds at proper concentrations in appropriate matrices.