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Group leaders

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Group leaders

Are you ready to lead a lab in an inspiring and collaborative atmosphere?
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Group leaders
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Janelia group leaders are independent scientists who direct a team of researchers. By design, Janelia group leaders have time to focus their energy and creativity on research.

About the group leader position

  • Postdoctoral experience is not required. We encourage applications from late-stage graduate students who are ready to lead independent labs
  • 100% internal funding and no teaching requirements
  • Small group size working in a highly collaborative environment
  • Hands-on research encouraged
  • Generous support from Janelia’s Support Teams
  • Initial terms are 5 years with the opportunity for renewal

Research at Janelia

We’re recruiting for group leaders in our three research areas:

Mechanistic Cognitive Neuroscience

Research groups in MCN aim to discover the circuit dynamics, network architectures, neuronal biophysics, synaptic rules, and molecular pathways that enable cognition. We strive for tight ‘theory-experiment’ loops that involve the collaborative design of conceptual frameworks, experiments, and analyses that unravel the complexities of behavior and its neural implementation. We particularly encourage applications from scientists who are interested in developing new approaches to expose how rodents, fish, and flies build and use internal models to produce flexible behavior in dynamic and uncertain environments.

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Molecular Tools and Imaging

MTI seeks tool-builders who are independent experts in a range of physical, chemical, and biological disciplines to develop creative solutions for problems in biology. Current tool-builders at Janelia develop microscopes that allow imaging of biological systems with unprecedented resolution and depth as well as new imaging agents that enable measurement of phenomena inside cells or animals.

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Computation and Theory

Our computational scientists develop machine vision and learning algorithms to analyze and interpret raw data across spatial and temporal scales. Our theorists develop theoretical frameworks and data-driven computational models to distill general principles that govern how and why biological systems operate the way they do.

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Collaboration is a key value at Janelia. Researchers whose work spans the interface between our research areas are always encouraged to apply.

Apply to be a group leader

Application requirements

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Documents
    • Vision statement (approximately 2000 words) proposing a research question or method that has the potential to be high impact and potentially transformative. We do not require preliminary data. (Do not add any identifiable information, such as your name, to the header or footer of the document.)
    • Collaboration statement (approximately 500 words) describing how you have approached scientific collaborations and how your work will synergize with that of other labs at Janelia
    • Mentorship statement (approximately 500 words) describing your experiences as a formal or informal mentor, and the combination of personnel (career stage, educational background, research experience) that would compose your ideal lab
    • Diversity statement (approximately 300 words) describing your vision for promoting diversity in science and any efforts you have made towards that end
  • Up to three publications or manuscripts along with a brief (approximately 300-word) summary of their significance
  • Three letters of recommendation


The biggest challenges in science call for original thinking and a variety of perspectives. We are committed to a culture of inclusion on campus and invite applications from individuals with diverse backgrounds. 

Application deadlines

Submissions must be received by one of three yearly deadlines: April 1, August 1, or December 1.

Apply today »