Faculty Profiles: Linda Bartoshuk, Ph.D.

Linda Bartoshuk, Ph.D.It’s been a busy year for Linda Bartoshuk, Ph.D., a tenured faculty member and a presidential endowed professor in Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science at the UF College of Dentistry. And it looks as if things are going to get even busier.

In February she was appointed to a three-year term on the Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and in May she was elected president of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), a group for which she was a charter member when it was founded 20 years ago. Since then she served on the board of directors twice and, despite the amount of time it will take to lead the organization for the next year, she’s looking forward to it.

“APS is an extraordinary organization. I’ve always loved the meetings which feature eminent scholars giving lectures about their work, providing an efficient way to learn about various areas in psychology,” said Bartoshuk.

One of her primary areas of interest is the how the study of behavior can contribute to solving many of the world’s social problems and she believes that one of the reasons she was elected president is because of her involvement in various areas of psychology at the national level which keeps her well informed.

“We are at a critical time in science. We have never had a greater need for understanding behavior and we are going through a time of great peril for our field due to loss of NIH funding and other issues,” Bartoshuk said, explaining why she’s willing to take on this additional responsibility when she already has so many other commitments, “of course, I also get to meet fantastic people.”

Where were you born?
Aberdeen, South Dakota

What made you decide to go into dentistry or into your current field?
Interest in food, taste and disorders affecting the ability of individuals to enjoy food.

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Understanding how to compare sensory experiences across subjects. This led to the discovery of supertasters.

If you could live anywhere on earth (and money was no issue) where would you choose to live?
I’ve never been able to decide on a favorite city. Every city I’ve lived in has some wonderful features.

How do you most like to spend your free time?
Playing with my grandchildren, reading, doing data analyses and watching Project Runway.

What was the last book you read?
“Me Tanner, You Jane,” by Lawrence Block. This is a mystery written in 1970 featuring a hero who suffered a brain injury and can no longer sleep.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton, Duncan Luce

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
The ability to stay thin!

What is your motto?
Let me borrow one from Tim Gun on Project Runway: Make it work!

Anything else you’d like to share?
I hope that some day the diagnosis and treatment of taste disorders will become a dental specialty.