Craig Montell received his B.A. in Bacteriology from UC Berkeley and his Ph.D. from UCLA, where he conducted his research in Dr. Arnold Berk's lab. After completing his postdoctoral research with Dr. Gerald Rubin at UC Berkeley, he joined the faculty of the Biological Chemistry and the Neuroscience Departments at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2013 Dr. Montell moved to UC Santa Barbara where is a Distinguished Professor and holds a Duggan Chair.
A central question in neurobiology is how animal behavior and decision making is controlled by the environment. Using molecular genetic, electrophysiological, biochemical and cell biological approaches in the fruit fly, we are defining the receptors and ion channels that sense the outside world, and impact on decisions ranging from food selection to choosing the ideal thermal landscape, mate selection and others. One of the key sensory receptors that we are characterizing are TRP channels, which responds to virtually all types of sensory inputs and impacts on a wide range of behaviors. We are also deciphering polymodal sensory roles of gustatory receptors and ionotropic receptors, and defining the behaviors that they control. We are unraveling unconventional, light-independent roles for rhodopsins. Most recently, we have started developing a variety of strategies to control the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, which spreads Dengue, Zika and other diseases.