Welcome to the Garrity Lab



Molecular genetics



What we study: 

Our work focuses on sensory transduction and behavior in order to address basic questions in neuroscience, molecular biology, and evolution: How do animals sense their environments? How does such information influence an animal's decisions about where to go and what to eat? How does such information influence physiology? What are the evolutionarily origins of the underlying machinery and how can this inform our understanding of how it operates today?

Our lab probes these questions using fruit flies and vector mosquitoes. We combine a range of approaches, from molecular genetics to behavior to electrophysiology to calcium imaging, with the goal of providing robust insights into how these systems operate from the molecular level to the systems level. Insights from this work are both of basic science interest and directly relevant to human health. In particular, our studies inform our understanding of the molecular origins of human pain and the transmission of devastating human diseases like malaria, dengue and Zika virus.

Where we work:

Our lab is part of the National Center for Behavioral Genomics in the Biology Department at Brandeis University.  Brandeis has a vibrant, tightly knit molecular genetics and neuroscience community, and we interact extensively with other labs at Brandeis and at nearby institutions. The critical mass of scientists at Brandeis and around Boston is a tremendous resource, starting with our immediate neighbors in the labs of Michael Rosbash, Piali Sengupta and Leslie Griffith, and extending to our NIH-funded collaborations with the nearby labs of Aravi Samuel at Harvard University and Flaminia Catteruccia at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Brandeis is located on the west side of Boston. It is readily accessible by public transportation and car from all over Boston and its suburbs. Members of the lab live in Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Somerville, Waltham, and Worcester.

Who supports us:

The lab is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Joining the lab:

The lab is actively seeking talented, highly motivated individuals to join us. Post-doctoral applicants are encouraged to contact P.G. by e-mail. Please include a CV and contact information for three references. Brandeis graduate students should e-mail and stop by.

Mentoring overview:

Lab size ranges from 7 to 12, which has proven large enough to sustain critical mass, but small enough to facilitate interaction and attention. Significant effort is devoted to supporting lab members in achieving their career goals.

Post-docs in the lab have traditionally been interested in pursuing careers as research and teaching faculty, and they have been very successful in achieving this goal. Emphasis is placed on establishing projects that can both form a basis for publishing noteworthy papers while a post-doc and for subsequently founding an independent research program. Emphasis is also placed on writing (including reviews and fellowships), mentoring and teaching opportunities. These opportunities include an undergraduate research class (part of a grant to our lab from the NSF) that is coupled to ongoing research in our lab.

Graduate students are mentored with an emphasis on thinking critically about science and exploring new areas of investigation, and they benefit from interactions with the outstanding student and post-docs in our lab and neighboring labs as well as with the PI. Opportunities for writing, mentoring and teaching are emphasized. Students are encouraged throughout to consider and prepare for what they will pursue after obtaining their PhD. Students from the lab have commonly pursued academic post-docs or biotech positions upon graduation.