Thierry’s Bio

Thierry Emonet is a Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology & Physics at Yale University. His research combines mathematical modeling and quantitative experiments to understand the biological computations that enable organisms to sense and navigate their chemical environments. As model systems, his lab uses bacterial chemotaxis and fly olfaction, in which they can make multi-scale measurements and compare to quantitative mathematical models. Navigation requires performing many non-trivial computations and can be quantified precisely. The Emonet lab exploits this quantitative framework for discovering how biological systems compute, and how computations are implemented in molecular and cellular mechanisms. Before coming to Yale in 2007, Thierry studied physics at the ETH Zürich. He received his PhD (cum laude) in theoretical astrophysics from the University of La Laguna (Spain) in 1998, before doing postdocs at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder CO and The University of Chicago, discovering key mechanisms that enable magnetic field to float to the surface of the Sun to create Sunspots. During his postdoc Thierry became fascinated with the question of where individuality comes from and what is its functional role in life and he switched to biology. His work is supported by NIH, NSF, the Paul G Allen Family Foundation (Distinguished Allen Investigator), the Whitehall Foundation, the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Outside of science, Thierry’s main interest is art. He grew up at the intersection of science and art and he is married to renowned sculptor Susan Clinard