Helene Hopfer, Ph.D.

Helene Hopfer, Ph.D.

  • Rasmussen Career Development Professor in Food Science
  • Assistant Professor of Food Science
  • Program Chair, Graduate Certificate Sensory & Consumer Science
218 Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Sensory Science
  • Flavor Chemistry & Flavor Biochemistry
  • Sensometrics
  • Sensory-assisted Breeding
  • Trace Analysis
  • Food Packaging


  • Postdoc, University of California, Davis, CA, Wine Sensory Science & Flavor Chemistry
  • Ph.D., Graz University of Technology, Austria, Technical Chemistry (Aroma Analysis & Sensory Science)
  • M.S., University of Leoben, Austria, Polymer Science (Polymer Chemistry & Physics)
  • B.S., University of Leoben, Austria, Polymer Science

Research Interests

My group is interested in the human-food interface, and how food composition and structure affects human perception and food choice, particularly aroma and flavor. We combine human sensory and consumer science with analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis, and multivariate statistics, to elucidate the impact of production, processing, storage, and presentation on perception. We are also interested in improving flavor of fruits and vegetables by linking sensory science to the breeding process more effectively.  


Finalist AGRO New Investigator Award, 2014
Weurman Symposium Student Award, 2008

Peer Reviewed Publications


Poveromo AR, & Hopfer H (2019) Temporal Check-All-That-Apply (TCATA) Reveals Matrix Interaction Effects on Flavor Perception in a Model Wine Matrix. Foods 8(12): 641 DOI: 10.3390/foods8120641

Racine KC, Wiersema BD, Griffin LE, Essenmacher LA, Lee AH, Hopfer H, Lambert JD, Stewart AC, & Neilson AP (2019) Flavanol Polymerization Is a Superior Predictor of α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity Compared to Flavanol or Total Polyphenol Concentrations in Cocoas Prepared by Variations in Controlled Fermentation and Roasting of the Same Raw Cocoa Beans. Antioxidants. 8(12): 635. DOI: 10.3390/antiox8120635

Elgaard L, Mielby LA, Hopfer H, & Byrne DV (2019) A comparison of two sensory panels trained with different feedback calibration range specifications via sensory description of five beers. Foods 8(11): 534. DOI: 10.3390/foods8110534

Hamada TY, Brown A, Hopfer H, & Ziegler GR (2019) Flavor and mouthfeel of pseudo‐cocoa liquor: Effects of polyphenols, fat content, and training method. J. Sens. Stud. e12541. DOI: 10.1111/joss.12541

Shi, L, Hopfer H, Ziegler GR, & Kong L (2019) Starch-menthol inclusion complex: structure and release kinetics. Food Hydrocolloids. 105183. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2019.105183

Wang G, Bakke AJ, Hayes JE, & Hopfer H (2019) Demonstrating cross-modal enhancement in a real food with a modified ABX test. Food Qual. Prefer. 77:206. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.05.007


Wang G, Hayes JE, Ziegler G, Roberts R, & Hopfer H (2018) Dose-Response Relationships for Vanilla Flavor and Sucrose in Skim Milk: Evidence of Synergy. Beverages. 4(4):73. DOI: 10.3390/beverages4040073

Cotter AR, & Hopfer H (2018) The Effects of Storage Temperature on the Aroma of Whole Bean Arabica Coffee Evaluated by Coffee Consumers and HS-SPME-GC-MS. Beverages. 4(3):68. DOI: 10.3390/beverages4030068


Godshaw J, Hopfer H, Nelson J, & Ebeler SE (2017) Comparison of dilution, filtration, and microwave digestion sample pretreatments in elemental profiling of wine by ICP-MS. Molecules. 22(10):16094. DOI: 10.3390/molecules22101609

Johnson AJ, Hopfer H, Heymann H, & Ebeler SE (2017) Aroma Perception and Chemistry of Bitters in Whiskey Matrices: Modeling the Old-Fashioned. Chem. Percept. 10(4):135 DOI: 10.1007/s12078-017-9229-3

Elias RJ, Hopfer H, Hofstaedter AN, & Hayes JE (2017) Man vs. Machine: A Junior‐Level Laboratory Exercise Comparing Human and Instrumental Detection Limits. J. Food Sci. Edu. 16(3):72 DOI: 10.1111/1541-4329.12114

Tanabe CK, Hopfer H, Ebeler SE, Nelson J, Conklin SD, Kubachka KM, & Wilson RA (2017) Matrix extension and multilaboratory validation of arsenic speciation method EAM § 4.10 to include wine. J. Agric. Food Chem. 65(20):4193 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b00855

Hopfer H, Gilleland G, Ebeler SE, & Nelson J (2017) Elemental Profiles of Whisk(e)y Allow Differentiation by Type and Region. Beverages 3(1):8 DOI:10.3390/beverages3010008

Blanco-Ulate B, Hopfer H, Figueroa-Balderas R, Ye Z, Rivero RM, Albacete A, Pérez-Alfocea F, Koyama R, Anderson MM, Smith RJ, Ebeler SE, & Cantu D (2017) Red blotch disease alters grape berry development and metabolism by interfering with the transcriptional and hormonal regulation of ripening. J. Exp. Bot. erw506. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erw506


Hendrickson D, Lerno L, Hjelmeland A, Ebeler S, Heymann H, Hopfer H, Block K, Brenneman C, & Oberholster A (2016) Machine harvesting: The impact of machine harvesting with and without optical berry sorting on Pinot Noir wine composition and quality. Wine & Viticulture Journal 31(5):51. Link

Hopfer H, Jodari F, Negre-Zakharov F, Wylie PL, & Ebeler SE (2016) A HS-SPME-GC-MS/MS Method for the Rapid and Sensitive Quantitation of 2-Acetyl-1-Pyrroline in Single Rice Kernels. J. Agric. Food Chem. 64:4114 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b00703

Hendrickson A, Lerno LA, Hjelmeland AK, Ebeler SE, Heymann H, Hopfer H, Block KL, Brenneman CA, & Oberholster A (2016) Impact of Mechanical Harvesting and Optical Berry Sorting on Grape and Wine Composition. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 67(4):385 DOI: 10.5344/ajev.2016.14132

Tanabe CK, Hopfer H, Gilleland G, Liba A, Ebeler SE, & Nelson J (2016) Total Arsenic Analysis in Californian Wines with Hydride Generation - Microwave Plasma - Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (HG-MP-AES). J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 31:1223 DOI: 10.1039/C6JA00051G


Hopfer H, Nelson J, Ebeler SE, & Heymann H. (2015) Correlating Wine Quality Indicators to Chemical and Sensory Measurements. Molecules 20:8453 DOI: 10.3390/molecules20058453

Ghanem E, Hopfer H, Navarro A, Ritzer M, Mahmood L, Fredell M, Cubley A, Bolen J, Fattah R, Reasdale K, Lieu L, Chua T, Kim D, Marini F, Heymann H, & Anslyn EV (2015) Predicting the Composition of Red Wine Blends using an Array of Multicomponent Peptide-Based Sensors. Molecules 20:9170 DOI: 10.3390/molecules20059170

Nelson J, Hopfer H, Gilleland G, Cuthbertson D, Boulton RB, and Ebeler SE (2015) Elemental Profiling of Malbec Wines Made Under Controlled Conditions by Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 66:373 DOI:10.5344/ajev.2015.14120.

Nelson J, Hopfer H, Silva F, Wilbur S, Chen JM, Ozawa S, & Wylie P (2015) Evaluation of GC-ICP-MS/MS as a New Strategy for Specific Hetero-Atom Detection of Phosphorus, Sulfur, and Chlorine Determination in Foods. J. Agric. Food Chem. 63:4478 DOI: 10.1021/jf506372e

Hopfer H, Collins TS, Nelson J, Heymann H, & Ebeler SE (2015) The combined impact of vineyard origin and processing winery on the elemental profile of red wines. Food Chem. 172:486 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.09.113

Umali AP, Ghanem E, Hopfer H, Hussain A, Kao Y, Zabanal LG, Wilkins BJ, Hobza C, Quach DK, Fredell M, Heymann H, & Anslyn EV (2015) Grape and wine sensory attributes correlate with pattern-based discrimination of Cabernet Sauvignon wines by a peptidic sensor array. Tetrahedron 71:3095 DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2014.09.062


Hopfer H, & Heymann H (2014) Corrigendum to “Judging wine quality: Do we need experts, consumers or trained panelists?"[Food Qual. Prefer. 32 (2014) 221–233]. Food Qual. Prefer. 36:1 DOI:10.1016/j.foodqual.2014.02.010

Hopfer H, Nelson J, & Ebeler SE (2014) How trace element analysis provides important insight into wine chemistry. Spectroscopy 29(9):34 Link

Blackman JW, Hopfer H, Saliba AJ, Schmidtke LM, & Scollary GR (2014) Sensory characterization of Hunter Valley Semillon aged in bottle. Flavour Fragr. J. 29:340 DOI: 10.1002/ffj.3211

Mielby LH, Hopfer H, Jensen S, Thybo AK, & Heymann H (2014) Comparison of Descriptive Analysis, Projective Mapping and Sorting Performed on Pictures of Fruit and Vegetable Mixes. Food Qual. Prefer. 35:86 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2014.02.006

Hopfer H, & Heymann H (2014) Judging wine quality: Do we need experts, consumers or trained panelists? Food Qual. Prefer. 32:221 DOI:10.1016/j.foodqual.2013.10.004


Heymann H, Hopfer H, & Bershaw D (2013) An exploration of the perception of minerality in white wines by projective mapping and descriptive analysis. J. Sens. Stud. 29:1 DOI: 10.1111/joss.12076

Casassa LF, Beaver CW, Mireles M, Larsen RC, Hopfer H, Harbertson JF, & Heymann H (2013) Influence of Fruit Maturity, Maceration Length, and Ethanol Amount on Chemical and Sensory Properties of Merlot Wines. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 64:437 DOI: 10.5344/ajev.2013.13059

Hopfer H, Nelson J, Mitchell AE, Ebeler SE, & Heymann H (2013) Profiling the trace metal composition of wine as a function of storage temperature and packaging type. J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 28:1288 DOI: 10.1039/C3JA50098E

Hopfer H, Buffon PA, Ebeler SE, & Heymann H (2013) The combined effects of storage temperature and packaging type on the sensory and chemical properties of Cabernet Sauvignon. J. Agric. Food Chem. 61:3320 DOI: 10.1021/jf3051736

Hopfer H, & Heymann H (2013) A summary of Projective Mapping observations - The effect of replicates and shape, and individual performance measurements. Food Qual. Prefer. 28:164 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.08.017


King ES, Hopfer H, Haug M, Dorsi J, Heymann H, Crisosto G, & Crisosto C (2012) Describing the Appearance and Flavor Profiles of Fresh Fig (Ficus carica L.) Cultivars. J. Food Sci. 77: S419 DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02994.x

Hopfer H, Ebeler SE, & Heymann H (2012) The combined effects of storage temperature and packaging type on the sensory and chemical properties of Chardonnay. J. Agric. Food Chem. 60:10743 DOI: 10.1021/jf302910f

Hopfer H, Ebeler SE, & Heymann H (2012) How blending affects the sensory and chemical properties of red wine. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 63:313 DOI: 10.5344/ajev.2012.11112


Hopfer H, Haar N, Stockreiter W, Sauer C, & Leitner E (2011) Combining different analytical approaches to identify odor formation mechanisms in polyethylene and polypropylene. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 402:903 DOI: 10.1007/s00216-011-5463-8


Hopfer H, Sauer C, Haar N, & Leitner E (2010) Comparison of different analytical methods for volatile and odour-active substances in polyolefins. Macromol. Symp. 296:176 DOI: 10.1002/masy.201051026