The present direct numerical simulation (DNS) study, the first of its kind, explores the effect that the location of a cylinder, immersed in the turbulent wake of a grid-element, has on heat transfer. An insulated single square grid-element is used to generate the turbulent wake upstream of the heated circular cylinder. Due to fine-scale resolution requirements, the simulations are carried out for a low Reynolds number. Three locations downstream of the grid-element, inside the production, peak and decay regions, respectively, are considered. The turbulent flow in the production and peak regions is highly intermittent, non-Gaussian and inhomogeneous, while it is Gaussian, homogeneous and fully turbulent in the decay region. The turbulence intensities at the location of the cylinder in the production and decay regions are almost equal at 11 %, while the peak location has the highest turbulence intensity of 15 %. A baseline simulation of heat transfer from the cylinder without oncoming turbulence was also performed. Although the oncoming turbulent intensities are similar, the production region increases the stagnation point heat transfer by 63 %, while in the decay region it is enhanced by only 28 %. This difference cannot be explained only by the increased approaching velocity in the production region. The existing correlations for the stagnation point heat transfer coefficient are found invalid for the production and peak locations, while they are satisfied in the decay region. It is established that the flow in the production and peak regions is dominated by shedding events, in which the predominant vorticity component is in the azimuthal direction. This leads to increased heat transfer from the cylinder, even before vorticity is stretched by the accelerating boundary layer. The frequency of oncoming turbulence in production and peak cases also lies close to the range of frequencies that can penetrate the boundary layer developing on the cylinder, and therefore the latter is very responsive to the impinging disturbances. The highest Nusselt number along the circumference of the cylinder is shifted 45 degrees from the front stagnation point. This shift is due to the turbulence-generating grid-element bars that result in the prevalence of intense events at the point of maximum Nusselt number compared to the stagnation point.