Pathologisches Institut



AG Thomas Grünewald

Max-Eder Research Group for Pediatric Sarcoma Biology

Member of the CASY (Young Center - Center of Advanced Studies of the LMU)

Principal Investigator: Thomas Grünewald, MD, PhD

Research outline

Our mission is to improve outcome for children and young adolescents with sarcoma. We aim at developing novel therapeutic strategies based on new insights into the molecular mechanisms of disease following two major lines of research. Our investigations start with the analysis of the patients’ tumors in situ, followed by studying patient-derived cell lines using a wide variety of in silico, in vitro, and in vivo techniques.

1. Tumorigenesis in the context of developmental pathways:

Dominant oncogenes often hijack or interfere with developmental pathways thereby conferring a considerable growth advantage to tumor cells. We are interested in the mechanisms through which oncogenes arrest sarcoma cells in a lineage-specific, early-committed but yet largely undifferentiated state via deregulation of key developmental pathways, and how they cooperate with them to promote tumorigenesis and cancer progression.

2. Therapy resistance, tumor heterogeneity, and predictive biomarkers:

Primary and/or secondary resistance to conventional chemotherapeutic drugs is a frequent event in pediatric sarcoma. Chemo-resistance is a highly specific process in which tumors become resistant to certain drugs while maintaining (limited) susceptibility toward others. Underlying to this resistance is considerable plasticity due to intra-tumor heterogeneity, which enables the adaptation to therapeutic stress on the clonal and sub-clonal level. We strive for illuminating the genetic basis and biological mechanisms of tumor-heterogeneity and aim at identifying novel biomarkers for individualized risk-stratification, prediction of treatment response, and to indicate which targeted therapeutics may help overcoming resistance to conventional therapeutic drugs.


Further reading…

Frontiers Research Topic: 'Biology-Driven Targeted Therapy of Pediatric Soft-Tissue and Bone Tumors: Current Opportunities and Future Challenges'

Frontiers Research Topic: 'Cancer – a Spectrum of Diseases at the Crossroad Between Cell Signaling, (Epi)genetics, and the Microenvironment'

Themed issue 'Translating cancer-omics into function' in Biology of the Cell

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(alphabetical order)


Florencia Cidre-Aranaz, PhD






Cornelius Funk

MD thesis student




  thomas_gruenewaldThomas Grünewald, MD, PhD

 Principal Investigator





Tilman Hölting

MD thesis student (LMU)





Merve Kasan, physician

MD thesis student (LMU)





Maximilian Knott, phsician

Research associate (LMU)





Jing Li, MSc

PhD thesis student (medicine, Munich Medical Research School - MMRS)





Aruna Marchetto, MSc

PhD thesis student (biology, Munich Medical Research School - MMRS)





Julian Musa

MD thesis student (LMU)





Shunya Ohmura, Dr. med. vet.






Martin Orth, MSc, Physician

PhD thesis student (medicine, Munich Medical Research School - MMRS)





Tanja Paul, MD, physician

Research associate (LMU)





Ignazio Piseddu

Research associate (LMU)





Laura Romero-Pérez, PhD






Stefanie Stein

Research assistant (MTLA)





Elisabeth Vrancea

Master thesis student (bioinformatics)





Fabienne Wehweck, MD, physician

Research associate (LMU)





We are continuously looking for enthusiastic PhD students and Post-Docs to join our team. Applicants should have an experimental or a computational background, or a combination of both, preferably in cancer research. Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Thomas Grünewald with their own project ideas. Written applications including CV and the names of two professional referees are welcome and should be forwarded by email to Dr. Thomas Grünewald.

Funding opportunities for PhD thesis students and Post-Docs

PhD thesis students: We typically recruit one PhD student per year via the Munich Medical Research School (MMRS) individual PhD program

MD thesis students: We typically recruit one MD thesis student per year. We consider outstanding MD students from the LMU or TUM in their 1st clinical semester, that is shortly after completion of the first medical state exam (“Physikum”), provided that they have passed their 1st medical state exam with excellent results and that they are willing to spend continuously at least 18-24 months in the laboratory (including two so-called "Freisemester"). Qualified candidates are encouraged to contact Dr. Thomas Grünewald with a brief motivation letter, CV and transcripts.


For funding of our projects we are very grateful to:

    If you would like to support our research on pediatric cancers, please use the following form   -   Falls auch Sie unsere Forschung an kindlichen Krebserkrankungen mit einer Spende unterstützen wollen, verwenden Sie bitte folgendes Formular:

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    In addition you could support our research via shopping at AmazonSmile / Unterstützen Sie unsere Forschung auch über einen Einkauf bei AmazonSmile

    News / Events

    • 09/2019 New publication of the AG Grünewald in Nature Communications (link to PDF)
    • 07/2019 – Mildred-Scheel doctoral scholarship from the German Cancer Aid (17.000 €) awarded to Merve Kasan
    • 05/2019 - The AG Grünewald is co-organizing the next EuSARC symposium "The biology of sarcomas – from basic mechanisms to innovative therapies", 30.05.-01.06.2019, Benediktbeuern, Germany
    • 11/2018 - Dr. Shunya Ohmura will give an invited talk at the annual meeting of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS), Rome, Italy
    • 07/2018 - New publication of the AG Grünewald in Nature Reviews Disease Primers (link to pdf)
    • 05/2018 - Dr. Thomas Grünewald, PhD, will give a keynote lecture at the EuSARC 2018 „The Biology of Sarcoma" workshop
    • 01/2018 – Mildred-Scheel doctoral scholarship from the German Cancer Aid (11.335 €) awarded to Tilman Hölting
    • 11/2017 - Extraordinary Doctorate Award from the University of Seville to Dr. Laura Romero-Pérez
    • 07/2017 – Award for outstanding teaching at the Faculty of Medicine of the LMU to Dr. Thomas Grünewald, Ph.D.
    • 06/2017 – 8th Mildred Scheel Cancer Conference (link to pdf)
    • 05/2016 – Best poster award (500 €) of the 100th annual conference of the German Society of Pathology awarded to Marlene Dallmayer
    • 05/2016 – Kind-Philipp-Preis 2015 (10.000 €) awarded to Dr. Thomas Grünewald, Ph.D.
    • 01/2016 – Gerhard-Domagk-Award for cancer research 2015 (10.000 €) awarded to Dr. med. Thomas Grünewald, Ph.D.
    • 10/2015 – Doctoral scholarship from the Kind-Philipp-Foundation (12.000 €) awarded to Julian Musa
    • 08/2015 – F1000Prime recommendation for our article "Chimeric EWSR1-FLI1 regulates the Ewing sarcoma susceptibility gene EGR2 via a GGAA-microsatellite"
    • 08/2015 – Doctoral scholarship (10.000 €) of the "Deutsche Stiftung für junge Erwachsene mit Krebs" awarded to Marlene Dallmayer
    • 07/2015 – First clues to cooperation of somatic mutations and common germline susceptibility variants revealed in Ewing sarcoma (link)
    • 07/2015 – 4. GPOH Nachwuchsakademie "Pädiatrische Onkologie" (link to pdf)
    • 06/2015 – ASSET - ENCCA Ewing Meeting, Paris (link to pdf)
    • 02/2015 – International Research Prize (5000 €) of the German Sarcoma Conference 2015 awarded to Dr. med. Thomas Grünewald, Ph.D.
    • 01/2015 – Gilles Thomas’ Symposium “Perspectives in Cancer Genetics and Genomics” (link to pdf) 

    Lab alumni