Profile Dr. Melanie Köhler

Head of  Junior Research Group Mechanoreceptors

Lise-Meitner-Str. 34
85354 Freising

Tel.: + 49 8161 71-2745



My recently founded research group (July 2022) aims to decipher the molecular basis underlying oral texture perception. We study and characterize the oral receptor molecules involved in mouthfeel (e.g. mechanoreceptors), their interplay with taste receptors/ chemesthesis and certain food constituents, known to enhance mouthfeel of food products. High-throughput atomic force microscopy (AFM) is used as a central technique in combination with new biophysical methodologies, other advanced microscopy techniques, mechano- and cell biology, food chemistry and biology, bioinformatics, and human sensory analysis to discover how texture makes flavor.

The combined use of these techniques will offer innovative routes to study, evaluate and standardize mouthfeel in flavor perception, and to design related novel food structures to solve problems in health, dietary choice, and nutrition.

  • Understanding the molecular basis of mouthfeel in foods’ flavor perception
  • Structure-function analyses of the key players involved in mouthfeel
  • Implementing experimental biophysical approaches in food systems biology
  • Discovery of mechanoreceptors involved in food-related human processes beyond oral texture perception
Since 06/2022 Leibniz-Institute of Food Systems Biology at the TU Munich
Junior group leader “Mechanoreceptors”
10/2020 – 06/2022 UCLouvain, Louvain Institute of Biomolecular Science and Technology, nbio lab, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
Senior Postdoc
10/2016 – 09/2020 UCLouvain, Louvain Institute of Biomolecular Science and Technology, nbio lab, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
Junior Postdoc
Dr. techn./ PhD (09/2016) Johannes Kepler University, Linz (Austria)
10/2012 – 09/2016 Johannes Kepler University, Institute of Biophysics, Linz (Austria)
PhD student in Biophysics
Dipl.-Ing./ MSc. (09/2012) University of Applied Science, Linz (Austria)
09/2010 – 09/2012 University of Applied Science, Linz (Austria)
Master studies in Biomedical Engineering
2022 (LSB) Recipient of a 5-year Junior Research Group grant funded by the Leibniz association and Leibniz LSB within the scope of the Leibniz competition 2022, Germany, “Mouthfeel – How texture makes flavor”
2020 (UCLouvain) 3-year postdoctoral fellowship funded by Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) Belgium, “Probing quantitative parameters underlying the initial Reovirus binding steps to cell surfaces using combined atomic force microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy”
2017 (UCLouvain) Erwin Schrödinger Abroad Fellowship funded by Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria, “Probing the reovirus infection”
Since 2019 Co-Supervision of 1 PhD student, UCLouvain, Belgium
2015 – 2016 AFM training and demo sessions for Keysight Technologies, Austria
2013 – 2016 Tutor/ Lab demonstrating/ Teaching assistant for the course “Characterization of bio-nano structures” for molecular bioscience/ biophysics students; JKU Linz, Austria
2013 – 2017 Lecturer at Linz Winter School “”, Austria
Since 2012 Supervision of 6 Bachelor students, 5 Interns and 7 Master students, JKU Linz, FH Linz & UCLouvain