Helene Hopfer, Ph.D.

  • Rasmussen Career Development Professor in Food Science
  • Assistant Professor of Food Science
Helene Hopfer, Ph.D.
218 Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building
University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-863-5572

Areas of Expertise

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


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

Research Interests:

My group is interested in how the chemical composition of food and non-food impacts human perception, particularly aroma and flavor. We combine sensory science, analytical chemistry and multivariate statistics to elucidate the impact of production, processing, storage and presentation on perception. We are also interested in improving the flavor of fruits and vegetables through the incorporation of sensory science into the breeding process. Lastly, we are studying how the geographical origin of food can be measured.   


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

Peer Reviewed Publications:

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):51-54,56.;dn=511548037148220;res=IELHSS

Hendrickson DA, 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 DOI: 10.5344/ajev.2016.14132

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. 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

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, & 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

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