Ian Traniello


I study the evolution and maintenance of social organization, beginning with the fundamental question of how a brain “wired” for solitary life can handle the intense push-and-pull of group living. This interest has inevitably led me to the insect societies, extreme examples of the “organized chaos” that underlies many forms of social life. Working with the Kocher and Pritykin labs, I leverage cutting-edge sequencing technologies like single-cell and spatial ‘omics to explore the neurogenomic architecture of collective and individual behaviors in socially polymorphic bees. Paired with behavioral experiments in the lab and field, these tools allow for careful dissection of the genetic and environmental factors that shape behavior, allowing us to ask if there are conserved themes that support the gain or loss of sociality across diverse taxa.

Before joining the LSI, I earned my PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I worked with Dr. Gene E. Robinson at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Outside of the lab, I have over half a decade of experience teaching STEM to incarcerated students and am passionate about using science education to build community and create a world without prisons.