Bruce Carlson promoted to professor of biology

Bruce Carlson joined the biology department in 2008. He was recently promoted to full professor and also serves as chair of the Biology Inclusion Committee. His laboratory studies animal communication, the neurobiological basis of sensory information processing, and the evolution of brain and behavior.


“I knew I wanted to be a scientist for as long as I can remember, though I didn’t really know what the job of a scientist was like. I started out doing chemistry experiments in my parent’s basement, and then got really into astronomy after getting my first telescope. After going snorkeling in the Caribbean for the first time, I fell in love with the underwater world. I started keeping fish at home as pets, I got SCUBA certified as soon as I was old enough, and I went to college to study marine biology. It was there that I started to learn what the life of a professor was like, and that it integrated teaching, research, and mentoring. I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life, but I was also losing my interest in marine biology. I was realizing that I was most excited about understanding what makes animals work, and I just wasn’t getting that in marine biology. At first, I became drawn to genetics, but after taking a class on the neurobiology of behavior, I was hooked. I did my senior honors thesis with the professor of that class, and I’ve been a card-carrying neuroethologist ever since."

To learn more about the Carlson Lab’s research, visit