We Believe in Collaboration
Although our scientific pursuits at Janelia center on neuroscience and imaging technology, our progress relies on a diverse mix of scientists – from biologists, to software engineers, to physicists. We subscribe to “small labs, big science,” a philosophy maintained through an uninhibited flow of ideas, tools, and insight among these experts. By approaching a narrow focus of research with broad scientific expertise, Janelia not only drives its own scientific mission forward, it also helps propel technology and innovation that could advance biology as a whole. The stories below show a subset of the collaborations that demonstrate Janelia’s scientific culture.
Loren Looger brings his expertise in protein engineering to countless collaborative partnerships, some of them far outside his field. That outsider’s perspective is the key to success in many of Looger’s projects. Because he’s not entrenched in the dogma of his collaborators’ disciplines, Looger says the assumed limits of those fields rarely restrict his imagination.
As researchers in one discipline drill deeper into their field, they simultaneously open new opportunities for collaboration with others, whether to expand their own science, contribute to a colleague’s research, or develop tools for broader use.
Scientists at Janelia want to understand how animals decide what to do and when, and Gwyneth Card has turned to fruit flies for help. Studying the neural basis of animal behavior in insects may seem odd, but it makes perfect sense when you consider that the human brain contains roughly 100 billion nerve cells, while the fly has a mere 100,000.
Janelia’s Scientific Computing team helps scientists accelerate their work through custom software and high-performance computing.
With access to the lattice light sheet microscope in Janelia’s Advanced Imaging Center, visiting scientists found the view into the mechanics of apoptosis they were seeking.
An innovative collaboration program opens Janelia’s doors to visiting scientists from around the world.
The environment at Janelia provides unparalleled opportunity for people to work together to tackle big challenges. Collaboration here knows no boundaries and involves people from multiple labs and shared resources working together to create new tools and answer important questions.
Group Leader, Scientific Program Director
The facilities at Janelia make collaborations natural. We have the microscopes, the computers, the expertise—I collaborate with visiting scientists a lot. Outside of Janelia, people might do the same thing on a sabbatical—but it’s easier here.
The Janelia environment and culture makes it a lot easier to collaborate. People are more open to it, not worried about keeping their data secret or worried about getting scooped. It is not my motivation for success, not something I think about, but it is the natural flow of the place.