Janelia Research Campus

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Janelia Research Campus
File:Janelia Farm Logo.gif
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 www.janelia.org

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.

The campus was known as "Janelia Farm Research Campus" until the name changed to "Janelia Research Campus" in 2014.[1]


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.[2] However, there are interdisciplinary problems that are difficult to address in existing research settings, and Janelia was built to address one of these problems,[3] neurobiology. As of November 2011, the facility has 424 employees and room for 150 more.[4] 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:[3]

  • 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.[5]

Gerald M. Rubin is the first director of Janelia, and saw it from concept through construction to operation. The other 53 research lab heads are Misha Ahrens, Bruce Baker, Eric Betzig, Davi Bock, Kristin Branson, Gwyneth Card, Albert Cardona, Meng Cui, Barry Dickson, Shaul Druckmann, Joshua Dudman, Sean Eddy, Jeremy Freeman, Tamir Gonen, Nikolaus Grigorieff, Adam Hantman, Tim Harris, Ulrike Heberlein, Harald Hess, Stephen Huston, Vivek Jayaraman, Na Ji, Alla Karpova, Krystyna Keleman, Philipp Keller, Minoru Koyama, Luke Lavis, Albert Lee, Tzumin Lee, Anthony Leonardo, Loren Looger, Jeffrey Magee, Gabe Murphy, Eva Pastalkova, Anastasios Pavlopoulos, Michael Reiser, Lynn Riddiford, Sandro Romani, Stephan Saalfeld, Eric Schreiter, Louis Scheffer, Julie Simpson, Robert Singer, Nelson Spruston, David Stern, Scott Sternson, Karel Svoboda, Robert Tjian, James Truman, Srinivas Turaga, Carl Wu, Marta Zlatic, Charles Zuker. .[6]


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.[7] 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.[8] The original Janelia Farm house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[9][10]

Community Involvement

HHMI works with the Loudoun County Public School System through a partnership by granting scholarships and enriching middle school science classes.[11] In particular, it is a partner with Loudoun Academy of Science. [12]


  1. "History". Janelia Research Campus. Retrieved 23 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "About HHMI: Introduction".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Janelia's Philosophy".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  6. "Janelia.org".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Campus project designed to inspire ground-breaking science" (PDF). R&D Magazine. 13 November 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/july2001/janelia/janelia2.html
  9. Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Howard Hughes Medical Institute Breaks Ground For Janelia Farm Research Campus". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. May 5, 2003. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Loudoun County Schools, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Announce Innovative Science Education Partnership - HHMI.org". HHMI.org. Retrieved 23 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Michael Alison Chandler (30 May 2014). "Loudoun County's Academy of Science showcases teens' first forays into research". Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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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