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Behavior is flexible and we can adapt it according to certain needs or particular contexts. ILONA GRUNWALD KADOW and her team are interested in the underlying neural mechanisms in the brain and also the genes that allow us to exhibit flexible behavior. As Grunwald Kadow explains in this video, they used fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) and genetic methods in their experiments. Their findings suggest that internal state and context indeed change the way sensory information is processed at different levels in the brain. This combination of sensory changes and higher brain changes seems to be really effective in changing the fly’s behavior and allows flexibility. This appears to be a general mechanism that may also explain why human behavior is flexible.


Ilona Grunwald Kadow is Assistant Professor at the School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan, Technical University Munich (TUM). After a position as post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, she set up her own research group at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology where she became a Max Planck research group leader. Grunwald Kadow investigates the neuronal circuits of chemosensory processing and decision-making. She has received multiple awards, among them the EMBO Young Investigator Award in 2012.


Technical University of Munich (Technische Universität München)

"Technische Universität München (TUM) is one of Europe’s top universities. It is committed to excellence in research and teaching, interdisciplinaryeducation and the active promotion of promising young scientists. The university also forges strong links with companies and scientific institutionsacross the world. TUM was one of the first universities in Germany to be named a University of Excellence. Moreover, TUM regularly ranks among the best European universities in international rankings." ( Source )
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Original publication

Ionotropic Chemosensory Receptors Mediate the Taste and Smell of Polyamines

Hussain Ashiq, Zhang Mo, Üçpunar Habibe K., Svensson Thomas, Qillery Elsa, Gompel Nicolas, Ignell Rickard and Grunwald Kadow Ilona C.
PLOS Biology
Published in 2016

Neuropeptides Modulate Female Chemosensory Processing Upon Mating in Drosophila

Hussain A., Üçpunar H. K., Zhang M., Loschek L. F. and Grunwald Kadow I. C.
PLOS Biology
Published in 2016

A Higher Brain Circuit for Immediate Integration of Conflicting Sensory Information in Drosophila

Grunwald Kadow I. C., Lewis L., Siju K. P., Friedrich A. B., Bulteel A. J. B. and Rubin G. M.
Current Biology
Published in 2015

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Essential Role of the Mushroom Body in Context-dependent CO₂avoidance in Drososphila

Zhang M., Grunwald Kadow I. C., Siju K. P., Bräcker L. B., Varela N., Aso Y. and Vasconcelos M. L.
Current Biology
Published in 2013

Hybrid Neurons in a MicroRNA Mutant Are Putative Evolutionary Intermediates in Insect CO2 Sensory Systems

Grunwald Kadow I. C., Cayirlioglu P., Zhan X., Okamura K., Gunning D., Lai E. C. and Zipursky S. L.
Published in 2008