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Janelia Virus Service Extended to HHMI Investigators

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10/31/17 | Janelia Virus Service Extended to HHMI Investigators

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Custom viral constructs and tools are now available to HHMI investigators, thanks to the expansion of Janelia's Virus Service support team.

From viral construct design to troubleshooting viral vectors, Janelia’s Virus Service support team partners with scientists across campus to fulfill their viral tool needs. Now, the team of trained virologists has expanded their service beyond Ashburn, to all HHMI investigators.

The group’s one-stop-shop service routinely manages viral construct design, coordination of vector construction, and production of adeno-associated and rabies viruses. Throughout the entire process of a project, they remain available for consult, from conception to production to follow up.

“We want to know if you’re having any trouble – that way we can do a little extra sleuthing to figure out what the problem is,” says Kim Ritola, Virus Services shared resource manager. “We won’t be offended; we really just want to help make the science work.”

Ritola says that the group recognizes that many institutions have their own virus centers, but they do get backlogged. “We want to provide an option for investigators to get a quicker turnaround and smaller viral preps that offer more flexibility to their research,” she says.

And although the bulk of the team’s experience is in creating viruses for neurobiology research, the expanded field service supports all types of biology. So far, about a dozen investigators have utilized the group’s expertise, eight of which are repeat customers.

To get off to a strong start, Virus Services requests that investigators who want to enlist their help reach out by email or phone first – that way the two groups can figure out the viral tool best suited for the scientist’s needs. Ritola says that it’s also a good time to address any specific concerns they might have about the Virus Service’s production process, and how our preps compare to what they have been using. The investigator can then either work with Janelia’s virologists to make the official request, or submit a prep request through

“We’re all very much problem solvers – it’s how we all operate in the group,” says Ritola. “Our goal here is to literally expand the level of service that we’re providing to Janelia to all of HHMI.”

A full list of services, contact information, and prep request forms can be found on the Support Teams / Virus Service page on