June 19, 2017, by jicke

Laughter and tears as friends wish Joanne Hort ‘Kia Ora’ for her new life

Friends and colleagues past and present gathered for a special lunch on Friday to bid a very fond farewell to Joanne Hort , SABMiller Professor of Sensory Science, who is leaving the University of Nottingham to take up a new post at Massey University in New Zealand where she will be setting up a new sensory science centre.

Tears and laughter

There were tears and laughter as presentations were made paying tribute to Jo’s work in the field of sensory science, which spans 15 years. University colleagues, Emeritus Professor Andy Taylor and Professor Tim Foster were joined by Dr Louise Hewson, Senior Scientist, Sensory and Consumer Insight at PepsiCo and Dr Ann-Marie Williamson, Refreshment Discover Director – Actives & Sensorials at Unilever, who all spoke of Jo’s passion and dedication to her work and also her sense of fun and ability to balance her career with family life.

Jo was appointed as Lecturer in Sensory Science at the University of Nottingham in 2002. She has since established the University of Nottingham Sensory Science Centre, which is renowned for both its sensory training and research into sensory perception. Jo is also Head of the International Centre for Brewing Science, where she has been applying her sensory expertise to study beer. Her research interests focus on the multi-modal aspects of flavour perception and she has published several articles in this area. She is a founder member and chair of the Professional Food Sensory Group of the Institute of Food Science and Technology and was on the organising committee of the 6th International Pangborn Symposium in the UK in 2005. In 2013 she was appointed Chair of the European Sensory Science Society.

In a ‘This is Your Life’ style presentation, Louise Hewson gave an overview of Jo’s career, from the early days of Dynataste, to setting up the first panel groups (and the infamous bonding sessions) as well as her love for Heston Blumenthal and her invention of scrambled egg ice cream! She said: “Jo will leave an amazing legacy built on a solid foundation. Fun and friendship has underpinned everything she has done and Jo can be so proud of what she’s achieved in her career so far.”

Thank you for the legacy

Speaking at the lunch Jo said: “I’ve worked with great mentors and wonderful colleagues, I’ve truly had a blast and I am only leaving because life and family must come first and the New Zealand has been pulling at me for some time. So it’s time for a change and time to move on – thank you for the legacy.”

As well as the sensory science role Jo has also been an ambassador for equality, diversity and inclusion and has led the current submission for the Athena Swan Award.

Anne-Marie Williamson from Unilever who has worked closely with Jo and the sensory science team commented: “Jo is a fantastic leading edge academic and is a great role model to encourage more women to take their place in science.”

Professor Tim Foster, Head of the Division of Food Sciences has worked closely with Jo for many years and said: “Jo’s work has positioned Nottingham as a world leading centre in Sensory Science and Consumer Behaviour. She will be dearly missed and we now have the challenge to try to replace her”.

We wish Jo all the best with the next exciting chapter in her career!

Posted in ScienceStaff