Collective cell movement is critical to the emergent properties of many multicellular systems including microbial self-organization in biofilms, wound healing, and cancer metastasis. However, even the best-studied systems lack a complete picture of how diverse physical and chemical cues act upon individual cells to ensure coordinated multicellular behavior. Myxococcus xanthus is a model bacteria famous for its coordinated multicellular behavior resulting in dynamic patterns formation. For example, when starving millions of cells coordinate their movement to organize into fruiting bodies – aggregates containing tens of thousands of bacteria. Relating these complex self-organization patterns to the behavior of individual cells is a complex-reverse engineering problem that cannot be solved solely by experimental research. In collaboration with experimental colleagues, we use a combination of quantitative microscopy, image processing, agent-based modeling, and kinetic theory PDEs to uncover the mechanisms of emergent collective behaviors.