How do cells coordinate their behaviors? Cells work together and make group decisions in systems ranging from bacterial biofilms to healing wounds to neuronal networks to cancer tumors. However, our understanding of how these collectives coordinate themselves is in its infancy when compared to what we know about how single cells function as individuals. This knowledge gap exists because of the technological challenges presented by connecting microscale events happening on a timescale of seconds inside cells to the macroscale events occurring over hours in collectives. Our lab addresses these challenges through creating and applying new methods to observe and control these behaviors. These new techniques enable us to develop a predictive understanding of how processes inside a single cell shape collectives, permitting us to synthetically engineer these group-wide behaviors for our benefit.