Our lab studies the molecular origin of behavior and behavioral variability. We do so by examining the biological and computational mechanisms that enable organisms to sense their environment and make decisions. A major focus of the lab is how these sensing and decision-making abilities arise from dynamical properties of signal transduction and neuronal networks. Central to our approach is the realization that when an organism makes decisions and acts on them (e.g. decides to turn), it changes what it will experience next. Thus, an important component of signal processing is the feedback of behavior onto the signal. Furthermore, living systems and their environment are inherently noisy. Therefore, we are particularly interested in understanding the functional role of noise and individual-to-individual variation in these processes.

As model systems, we use chemical sensing and navigation in bacteria and insects. We probe these systems at the molecular, cellular, and behavioral levels by combining molecular and biophysical experimental methods with predictions from theory and simulations. This approach enables us to understand how function at one scale (e.g. microbial population, brain) emerges from interactions and coordinated behavior at the smaller scale (e.g. molecules, cells).

Our lab is interdisciplinary. We have open positions for postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students with training/interests in microbiology, neuroscience, molecular biology, physics, mathematics and engineering.

The Emonet Lab is gratefull for funding from: The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, The Whitehall Foundation,  The James S. McDonnell Foundation, The National Science Foundation, The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


August 2, 2019
Hope’s excellent talk on her research in the efficacy and optimality of Drosophila olfactory navigation strategies was awarded as Best Talk at her REU showcase. She...
June 28, 2019
Why does coffee smell like coffee, whether on a San Diego beach or in the middle of Manhattan? Olfactory systems can distinguish incoming odors from backgrounds, even though...
January 15, 2019
Congratulations to Nirag for being awarded an NIH postdoctoral training fellowship through the BRAIN Initiative! Nirag proposed to develop machine-learning and computational...