- B.A., University of California, Berkeley
- Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Craig Montell received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1978, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1983. He returned to UC Berkeley in 1984 as a Damon Runyon postdoctoral fellow. It was there that he discovered the founding member of the Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) family of ion channels, while working on Drosophila phototransduction. In 1988 he joined the faculty of the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM), where he remained for nearly 25 years. At the JHUSOM his group identified the founding mammalian TRP channel, TRPC1. Dr. Montell moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013 as a Duggan Professor of MCDB and Neuroscience. He is a recipient of an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, an ACS Junior Faculty Award, and has received honorary doctorate degrees from the Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium in 2010 and from the Baylor College of Medicine in 2011. In 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 2016 Dr. Montell was appointed a Distinguished Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara.
My laboratory focuses on the control of animal behavior and decision making in response to sensory input. In particular, we are interested in how animals such as the fruit fly choose their favorite temperatures and foods, select mates, and avoid noxious temperatures, smells and flavors. We have identified a variety of Drosophila TRP channels and other ion channels and sensory receptors that regulate animal behaviors ranging from thermotaxis, to feeding behaviors, olfactory avoidance, and courtship behavior. Recently, we have expanded our research program to include studying the behavior of Aedes aegypti, and mechanisms to suppress this mosquito, which spreads diseases such as Dengue and Zika. Our long-term goal is to explain the complete cellular and molecular mechanisms through which different sensory inputs are received, integrated in the brain, and regulate an animal’s plastic behavioral responses to a changing environment.