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Two former Janelia Group Leaders named HHMI Investigators

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10/12/22 | Two former Janelia Group Leaders named HHMI Investigators

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Group Leaders Gwyneth Card and Tzumin Lee transfer to the HHMI Investigator Program

Former Group Leaders Gwyneth Card and Tzumin Lee are now HHMI Investigators, transferring from HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus to the Institute’s flagship community of scientists at universities across the United States.

Card, who was a Janelia group leader from 2010 through August 2022, is now an Investigator at Columbia University, an associate professor of neuroscience, and a principal investigator at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.

20221011_newinvestigators.pngLee, who was a Janelia group leader from 2009 through August 2022, is now an Investigator at the University of Michigan, the Peter D. Meister Professor of the Life Sciences at the Life Sciences Institute and a professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

In these new roles, Card and Lee join HHMI’s Investigator community, which includes approximately 270 scientists located at more than 60 US institutions. Janelia group leaders who have completed a 10-year term can apply to the HHMI Investigator Program and, if successful, transfer to an eligible host institution.

Card came to Janelia 12 years ago, soon after finishing her PhD at Caltech. At Janelia, the Card Lab investigated the neural circuits underlying how flies choose actions. The team combined high-throughput, high-resolution behavioral quantification with genetic, electrophysiological, and functional imaging techniques to trace the flow of information through the fly brain. Their work uncovered the neural processes involved when a fly chooses which escape behavior to perform, identified neurons involved in visual computation, coordination and choice of behaviors, and linked these neuronal responses directly to an action.

At Columbia, Card plans to continue and expand work in Drosophila circuit neuroscience. That includes creating a core fly technology resource, starting with setting up a fly-flipping robot her team will use to maintain 10,000 fly lines from Janelia. 

Lee arrived at Janelia in 2009, after completing a postdoc at Stanford University followed by serving as an assistant/associate professor in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The Lee Lab at Janelia studied the genetic underpinnings of fly brain development and evolution, reconstructing the development of the fruit fly brain from individual neural stem cells to diverse neural types. By profiling the transcriptomes of cycling neural stem cells over time, the researchers uncovered several temporal factors that encode time and confer serial-born neurons with distinct birth order-dependent cell fates. 

At Michigan, the Lee lab will track genome states and neuronal lineages simultaneously in various model organisms to reveal the genomic mechanisms that shape distinct brain characteristics of different species. They plan to develop tools that track and tailor cell lineages to answer questions about brain development, neuronal evolution, and neural regeneration.