Shristi Rawal

Graduate Student, Allied Health (Affiliate)

Research Overview

My broad research interests include obesity, taste and smell disorders, inflammation and dietary behaviors. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how genetic and clinical variation in taste shape our food choices and dietary behaviors, and in turn, predict our risk for obesity, and other diet-related chronic diseases.

One of my major accomplishments include collaborating with a nationwide team of taste and smell experts in developing and facilitating the implementation of a chemosensory protocol, a new component in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011+. This will be the first national based study to investigate the prevalence and risk factors for taste and smell disorders in the US population. Currently, as a quality control consultant for the chemosensory component of NHANES, I oversee the training of data technicians and monitor the quality of data collected from this protocol.

My dissertation work will include examining the NHANES data to evaluate the risk factors of taste and smell impairments, and determine how variation in chemosensory function associates with differences in dietary behaviors, anthropometric measures such as BMI, waist circumference, and other health measures such as blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. My other research projects include studying associations of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation in the body, with physical activity levels and risk for colorectal cancer.


I am a doctoral student in Public Health at the University of Connecticut. My academic background includes an undergraduate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Agnes Scott College, and a Masters in Health Promotion from the University of Connecticut.

Featured Publications

Rawal S, Hayes JE, Wallace MR, Bartoshuk LM, Duffy VB. 2013. Do polymorphisms in the TAS1R1gene contribute to broader differences in human taste intensity? Chem Senses. 38(8): 719-28. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjt040.

Swede H, Hajduk AM, Sharma J, Rawal S, Rasool H, Vella AT, Tobet RE, Stevens RG. 2013. Baseline Serum C-Reactive Protein and Death from Colorectal Cancer in the NHANES III Cohort. Int J Cancer. Epub 2 Oct 2013. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28504.

Contact Information
Mailing AddressDepartment of Allied Health Sciences
358 Mansfield Road, Unit 1101
Storrs, CT 06269-1101