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Janelia Research Campus

Janelia Research Campus
Established September 6, 2006 (2006-09-06)
Research type Unclassified
Budget $300 million
Director Gerald M. Rubin
Staff 424
Location Ashburn, Virginia
Campus 689 acres (2.79 km2)
Operating agency
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Eric Betzig
Website .org.janeliawww

The Janelia Research Campus is a research campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that opened in October 2006. The campus is located in Loudoun County, Virginia, near the town of Ashburn. It is known for its scientific research and modern architecture. The Executive Director of the laboratory is the biologist Gerald M. Rubin, who is also vice-president of HHMI.


  • Research 1
  • Campus 2
  • Community Involvement 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5


For many years, the main way HHMI conducted research was through supporting investigators who worked at their home institution. This is still the majority of HHMI research, with (as of 2011) more than 330 investigators at 70 institutions.[1] However, there are interdisciplinary problems that are difficult to address in existing research settings, and Janelia was built to address one of these problems,[2] neurobiology. As of November 2011, the facility has 424 employees and room for 150 more.[3] The campus focuses on interdisciplinary research in this area, specifically addressing:

  • The identification of general principles that govern how information is processed by neuronal circuits.
  • The development of imaging technologies and computational methods for image analysis.

In addition to and in cooperation with the individual investigators, there are three large scale interdisciplinary projects at Janelia:[2]

  • High-throughput characterizing of the behavioral phenotypes on genetically defined small neural lesions in Drosophila.
  • Two projects aimed at developing both large-scale neuroanatomical data for Drosophila (at the light and electron microscopy levels) as well as accelerating the technology so that even larger anatomical projects can be approached in the future.

Janelia was designed to emulate the unconstrained and collaborative environments at AT&T Bell Laboratories and Cambridge's Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Researchers are on six-year contracts and fully internally funded, independent of traditional research grant funding.[4]

Gerald M. Rubin is the first director of Janelia, and saw it from concept through construction to operation. The other 46 research lab heads are Bruce Baker, Eric Betzig, Davi Bock, Kristin Branson, Gwyneth Card, Albert Cardona, Dmitri Chklovskii, David A. Clayton, Meng Cui, Joshua Dudman, Sean Eddy, Roian Egnor, Tamir Gonen, Mats Gustafsson, Adam Hantman, Tim Harris, Harald Hess, Stephen Huston, Viren Jain, Vivek Jayaraman, Na Ji, Alla Karpova, Philipp Keller, Rex Kerr, Luke Lavis, Albert Lee, Tzumin Lee, Anthony Leonardo, Loren Looger, Jeffrey Magee, Gabe Murphy, Gene Myers, Eva Pastalkova, Michael Reiser, Lynn Riddiford, Dmitry Rinberg, Elena Rivas, Louis Scheffer, Julie Simpson, David Stern, Scott Sternson, Karel Svoboda, Robert Tjian, James Truman, Marta Zlatic, Charles Zuker. .[5]


The 689 acres (2.79 km2) campus features a 900-foot (270 m) long, arc-shaped laboratory known as the Landscape Building. Designed by Rafael Viñoly, the building, 270 feet (82 m) deep at the ground floor, is built into a hill and designed to be the primary research facility.[6] Site and landscape design were completed by Dewberry in 2006 and include over four acres of green roof meadow plantings which blend the building into the surrounding site. Additional landscape enhancements were designed by Lewis Scully Gionet, Inc., and were completed in fall 2008 (and won an Honor Award from the Maryland and Potomac chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects). This work includes hardscape elements (an architectural water feature, expanded path network, and siting of multiple pieces of artwork, among others) and comprehensive planting additions, and was constructed by Ruppert Nurseries.

The Janelia property was purchased by HHMI from the Dutch software maker Baan Companies in December 2000.[7] The original Janelia Farm house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8][9]

Community Involvement

HHMI works with the Loudoun County Public School System through a partnership by granting scholarships and enriching middle school science classes.[10]


  1. ^ "About HHMI: Introduction". 
  2. ^ a b "Janelia Farm: Philosophy". 
  3. ^ M. Mitchell Waldrop (17 November 2011). "Research at Janelia: Life on the farm. Five years in, has a lofty experiment in interdisciplinary research paid off". Nature 479: 284–286.  
  4. ^ Yudhijit Bhattacharjee (8 December 2006). "Neurobiology on the Farm". Science 314 (5805): 1530–1532.  
  5. ^ "Janelia Farm page". 
  6. ^ "Campus project designed to inspire ground-breaking science". R&D Magazine. 13 November 2007. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  9. ^ "Howard Hughes Medical Institute Breaks Ground For Janelia Farm Research Campus". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. May 5, 2003. 
  10. ^

Further reading

  • Gerald M. Rubin: Establishing a new Research Institute: The Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus. in: Perspectives of Research - Identification and Implementation of Research Topics by Organizations - Ringberg-Symposium 2006 (Max-Planck-Forum 7) Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (Hrsg.), München 2007, ISSN 1438-8715

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