Dr. Duncan measures chemical and sensory qualities of foods (particularly dairy foods) and other biological systems, in regards to oxidation and with emphasis on food packaging.
In Dr. Duncan's laboratory, various research projects are underway to determine oxidation reactions and the effects on flavor of foods, as well as human response to foods. In one line of research, Dr. Duncan studies the photochemistry, or the chemical action of light, of foods and the effect of packaging in protecting foods from light. For another project, she investigates the chemistry of the mouth, and the reasons behind the metallic flavor that many cancer patients report tasing. An ingredient molecule that would alter this taste is under investigation. She is also leading a project on the implication of mineral content of drinking water on food product quality. Dr. Duncan studies human emotional response to food using electronic software as a tool to capture physiological responses to emotion. Another project evaluates current strategies and protocols to help consumers make sure that fish is cooked safely.