TUM – Technical University of Munich Menü

Prof. Dr. Ilona Grunwald Kadow

Academic Career and Research Areas

Prof. Grunwald Kadow and her research group investigate the neuronal circuits of chemosensory processing and decision making. The aim of this research is to understand decision-making using as an example the processing of odors and tastes at the level of the neuronal mechanisms and nerve networks in the brain. One of the key questions is to what extent physiological and metabolic states, such as hunger, for example, affect decision making and neuronal processing. Using interdisciplinary approaches and model organisms the research focuses on three levels: (i) behavior, (ii) neuronal circuits and (iii) genes.
Grunwald Kadow studied biology and genetics at the University of Göttingen and at the University of California. Between 1999 and 2003 she completed her PhD at the University of Heidelberg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Following a position as a postdoctoral fellow (2003-2008) at the University of California in Los Angeles, she set up her own research group at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology at the end of 2008. Initially funded by an Emmy Noether German Research Foundation (DFG) grant, she later became a Max-Planck research group leader. Grunwald Kadow joined TUM as an assistant professor in 2017.


  • ERC Starting Grant (2015)
  • EMBO Young Investigator Award (2012)
  • Human Frontiers Science Organization Career Development Award (2008)
  • Emmy Noether research group leader (2008)
  • Otto-Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society (2002)

Key Publications (all publications)

Sayin S, De Backer JF, Wosniack ME, Lewis L, Siju KP, Frisch LM, Schlegel P, Edmondson-Stait A, Sharifi N, Fisher CB, Calle-Schuler S, Lauritzen S, Bock D, Costa M, Jefferis GSXE, Gjorgjieva J, Grunwald Kadow IC: “A neural circuit arbitrates between perseverance and withdrawal in hungry Drosophila”. Neuron. 2019; 104 (3): 544–558.


Hussain A, Pooryasin A, Zhang M, Loschek LF, La Fortezza M, Friedrich AB, Blais CM, Üçpunar HK, Yépez YA, Lehmann M, Gompel N, Gagneur J, Sigrist SJ, Grunwald Kadow IC: "Inhibition of oxidative stress in cholinergic projection neurons fully rescues aging-associated olfactory circuit degeneration in Drosophila". eLife. 2018; 7: e32018.


Hussain A, Zhang M, Üçpunar HK, Svensson T, Quillery E, Gompel N, Ignell R, Grunwald Kadow IC: "Ionotropic chemosensory receptors mediate the taste and smell of polyamines". PLOS Biology. 2016; 14:e1002454.


Lewis L, Siju KP, Aso Y, Friedrich AB, Bulteel AJB, Rubin GM, Grunwald Kadow IC: „A higher brain circuit for immediate integration of conflicting sensory information in Drosophila”. Current Biology. 2015; 25(17): 2203-14.


Cayirlioglu P, Grunwald Kadow I, Zhan X, Okamura K, Gunning D, Lai EC, Zipursky SL: "Hybrid Neurons in a microRNA mutant are putative evolutionary intermediates in insect CO2 sensory systems". Science. 2008; 319: 1256-1260.