Janelia’s unusual research culture values collaboration and vibrant intellectual life. That’s reflected in our history, our philosophy, and our campus.
To pursue fundamental biological questions, researchers need significant resources – including time, focus, tools, and collaborative colleagues. They need a research home that provides a purposeful environment for thinking differently about science and pursuing ambitious questions without distraction — questions that often require the development of new experimental methods or instruments.
The Janelia Research Campus is that kind of place. For a scientist interested in working with his or her own hands and being challenged and elevated by colleagues, Janelia provides a rare opportunity. We put a high priority on individual creativity, allowing scientists to pursue risky and long-term projects, and an equally high priority on cross-disciplinary teamwork. We ensure that scientists across career stages can be exceptionally productive by providing flexibility and resources, including a shared support staff that’s available to build the tools and provide the hands-on support needed to accelerate scientific research. We strive for a culture that is intentionally self-assembling, not top-down.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute founded Janelia in 2006 to complement the long-standing HHMI investigator program. Our goal was to address the constraints of academic research by providing an alternative research environment to drive science forward. Janelia currently has an emphasis on two research areas: developing new imaging methods and discovering the basic principles underlying computation by neuronal circuits. Today, Janelia includes 50 labs, nine project teams, and additional scientific support staff. In addition to lab heads, our scientists include over 380 researchers, more than 100 postdocs, and roughly 20 graduate students. Janelians come from 26 countries. In addition, every year approximately 155 visiting scientists spend time working at Janelia and close to 1000 attend our scientific conferences and workshops. At Janelia, we embrace diversity, with biologists, chemists, physicists, computational scientists, theorists, and engineers all working in close collaboration.
Designed to inspire original thinking, the Janelia campus includes 700 acres of woods and meadow on the banks of the Potomac River, in Ashburn, Virginia, near Washington D.C. Janelians work in a modern, curving, glass-and-concrete building that unobtrusively nestles into the landscape. On-campus housing, a pub, a fitness center, child care, and other amenities make Janelia a convenient, comfortable environment for researchers and a welcoming place for their families.
- Gerry Rubin, Executive Director