Janelia Research Campus

Janelia Research Campus

Janelia is a pioneering research center where scientists from many disciplines gather to collaborate on some of science's most challenging problems.

Janelia scientists are working on discovering the basic rules and mechanisms of the brain's information-processing system and developing optical, biological, and computational technologies for creating and interpreting biological images.

Janelia's overall objective is to pursue fundamental problems in basic biomedical research that are difficult to approach in academia and industry, because:

* They require expertise from disparate areas.
* They are too long-term for standard funding mechanisms.
* They are outside the current priorities of other funding agencies.

Operating as usual

Life Science Across the Globe 05/04/2021

Life Science Across the Globe

Join us on Wednesday, May 5 at 9 am. ET for the relaunch of Life Science Across the Globe! Janelia has teamed up with 7 other life sciences institutes on 5 continents to develop this monthly online event series, where leading scholars from around the world come together to discuss the most exciting advances in science and society. All events are free and open to anyone, anywhere.

Tomorrow’s event is “Inclusion of Underrepresented Populations in Science,” moderated by Kenny Gibbs from National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Speakers include Freeman Hrabowski and Michael Summers from UMBC, Mamokgethi Phakeng from University of Cape Town, Ramakrishna Ramaswamy from IIT Delhi, and Sonajharia Minz from Sido Kanhu Murmu University.

Special thanks to our partners, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, European Molecular Biology Laboratory - EMBL, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Centre for Biological Sciences - NCBS , Instituto Ifibyne, and the UCT Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine. Learn more, and sign up to attend, at lifescienceacrosstheglobe.org.

Life Science Across the Globe A virtual seminar series that brings together scientists and scholars around the world

Here’s How Insects Coax Plants into Making Galls | Janelia Research Campus 03/12/2021

Here’s How Insects Coax Plants into Making Galls | Janelia Research Campus

ICYMI: Newly identified proteins in aphid saliva can reprogram plant development, coaxing witch hazel trees into producing a cone-shaped shelter for aphids rather than normal leaf tissue.

Here’s How Insects Coax Plants into Making Galls | Janelia Research Campus Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Janelia Research Campus group leader David Stern and his colleagues have identified proteins in aphid saliva that can alter plant development. These proteins drive abnormal growths called galls, which give insects a protected place to feed and reproduce.


Igor Siwanowicz has been awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Scientific Imaging Award "for his macrophotography images that accentuate the beauty and intricacies of natural forms." And his colorful microscope image of a snail tongue, shown here, recently won third place in the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition. Congratulations, Igor!

Learn more about the Scientific Imaging Award (and read a magazine feature about Igor's work) here: https://rps.org/about/awards
And see the complete gallery of Nikon Small World winners here: https://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/2020-photomicrography-competition


Dr. Angela Rasmussen: Demystifying COVID-19. The Science of SARS-CoV2 Epidemiology and Transmission

Curious about the science of COVID-19? In partnership with the Loudoun County Public Library, Janelia is hosting a virtual lecture series with Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University. Watch the first two talks in the series here!



Virologist Angela Rasmussen delivers a three-part series of virtual talks, “Demystifying COVID-19: The Science of SARS-CoV-2”. The Dialogues series is cohost...


Our campus is operating at a minimal level right now, but our commitment to research continues. Read about ways Janelians are sharing their time, expertise and resources during the COVID-19 crisis.


[03/16/20]   To limit exposure to #COVID19 and keep our employees safe, Janelia will reduce campus and research operations to a minimal level through March 31. We continue to monitor the situation and will update our status as more information becomes available.


Fei Wang and Kaiyu Wang in Barry Dickson’s lab have mapped the neural circuits that link egg-laying to mating status in flies, making sure that female flies (like the array shown here) only lay eggs after mating.

“This is now perhaps one of the most completely understood behaviors in the fly,” says Dickson. “It's a great model for looking at how the brain integrates internal and external information.”

Their paper came out last week in Nature!

[02/06/20]   We're thrilled to welcome Ron Vale, who officially took the helm as Janelia's new executive director earlier this week!


1. overview_video.mp4

Presenting: The most complete map yet of the fruit fly brain. Janelia’s FlyEM team has traced the paths of some 25,000 neurons in the fruit fly brain and pinpointed the places where they connect. Now, all the data is available online for free. https://www.janelia.org/news/unveiling-the-biggest-and-most-detailed-map-of-the-fly-brain-yet


Correlative microscopy overview video .mp4

A new microscopy technique is revealing cells’ fine structure in new detail. The method, developed by Eric Betzig, Harald Hess + colleagues, combines 3D super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy in whole cells. Published today, in Science!


New work from Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz's lab out today in Nature Cell Biology: A protein that helps regulate cell proliferation pulls far-apart genes together by forming phase-separated droplets in the cell's nucleus. https://www.janelia.org/news/a-master-key-protein-brings-far-flung-genes-together-to-coordinate-cell-multiplication

janelia.org 11/20/2019

To Navigate, Flies Make Flexible Mental Maps of the World | Janelia Research Campus

Virtual reality is helping scientists study how fruit flies use visual cues to refine their sense of direction. Read more in two new studies published today in Nature, from labs of Janelia’s Vivek Jayaraman and HHMI Investigator Rachel Wilson.

janelia.org Flies use visual cues to finesse their mental maps of the environment. Two new studies use virtual reality to show how.


Congratulations to Janelian Igor Siwanowicz, who has won second place in the 2019 Nikon Small World competition for this photograph of freshwater protozoans called stentors.

Stentors, also known as trumpet animalcules, are shape-shifters, morphing from a horn shape into the pear shape shown here when swimming freely. They’re studied for their amazing regenerative abilities. A tiny piece of this two-millimeter single-celled animal, containing just a fragment of the multi-part nucleus (the colorful globular structures), can regrow into a new animal.

Stentors are a challenge to photograph. The chemicals used to prepare samples for a shot under a microscope can cause sensitive stentors to “collapse into a ball of protoplasm,” Siwanowicz says. But buried in an old paper, he found a reference to a technique for “relaxing” the stentors with magnesium ions — like “a bath in Epsom salt.” Using that trick, he’s captured them under a fluorescent microscope.



Movie s1 clip 1.mp4

A new imaging method follows young neurons in a developing zebrafish as they travel across the embryo and organize themselves into circuits. Read the latest work from Philipp Keller’s lab, published today in Cell. https://www.janelia.org/news/how-neural-circuits-form-in-a-developing-embryo

janelia.org 09/16/2019

Now We Know How the Thalamus is Organized | Janelia Research Campus

The ThalamoSeq Project Team is illuminating the organization of the thalamus, a switchboard in the brain. The findings, published today in Nature Neuroscience, give new clues to the way information is transmitted through the mouse brain. https://www.janelia.org/news/now-we-know-how-the-thalamus-is-organized


janelia.org 09/05/2019

MouseLight Project Team Maps 1,000 Neurons (and Counting) in the Mouse Brain | Janelia Research Campus

The MouseLight Project Team has traced more than 1,000 neurons in the mouse brain. Their paper on this milestone is published today in Cell. Check out the story and video! https://www.janelia.org/news/mouselight-project-team-maps-1000-neurons-and-counting-in-the-mouse-brain

janelia.org Janelia Research Campus scientists have mapped more than 1,000 neurons in the mouse brain. It’s the most extensive neural wiring diagram available, and the data are accessible online. Scientists are batting a thousand in a project to reconstruct the mouse brain’s wiring diagram.


An ‘80s cartoon is making a comeback! But this time around, Voltron is a new way to measure voltage changes in neurons. Read more about this cool tool today in Science.


janelia.org 07/31/2019

SLAP Microscopy Smashes Speed Barriers | Janelia Research Campus

A new two-photon microscope breaks speed limits by compressing data. It can capture neurotransmitter release at hundreds of synapses simultaneously! Check out the latest work from the Podgorski Lab, published this week in Nature Methods.

janelia.org A new two-photon microscope captures videos of the brain faster than ever, revealing voltage changes and neurotransmitter release.



Happy #FourthofJuly to everyone in the United States! John Heddleston from Janelia’s Advanced Imaging Center captured these fireworks on the lattice light sheet microscope alongside AIC visitor Andy Moore. Video: dividing cells (actin and mitochondria are stained, color map: red, white, and blue).

janelia.org 06/20/2019

Frustrated Fish Give Up Thanks to Glia, Not Just Neurons | Janelia Research Campus

Glia aren’t just support cells for neurons. New research from the Ahrens Lab shows that glia can perform computations that tell frustrated fish when to give up.

janelia.org Giving up when efforts are futile depends on glial cells called radial astrocytes, highlighting a novel computational role for the underappreciated brain cells. Secured in place in a virtual-reality-equipped chamber, frustrated zebrafish just didn’t want to swim anymore. They had been “swimming...

janelia.org 06/11/2019

Flight or Alight? New Research Untangles How Flies Determine the Appropriate Response to a Looming Stimulus | Janelia Research Campus

To a fruit fly, the looming shadow of a predator looks a lot like an approaching landing place—but requires a different response. New research from Gwyneth Card's lab published in @natureneuro shows how flies react correctly based on context cues.

janelia.org Two types of neurons in the fly brain help a fly land when it detects a looming stimulus – but only if it’s already in flight.

janelia.org 06/10/2019

NeuroSeq Project Team Creates Atlas of Mouse Neurons | Janelia Research Campus

NeuroSeq, a Janelia Project Team, analyzed RNA from more than 200 populations of neurons. A paper describing the project is out now: https://www.janelia.org/news/neuroseq-project-team-creates-atlas-of-mouse-neurons

janelia.org A Janelia project to profile different populations of mouse neurons yields insights into what sets brain cells apart. Sacha Nelson wanted to understand what sets different types of neurons apart.


Learn from Janelians Kristin Branson, Srini Turaga, and Larissa Heinrichs in the Society for Neuroscience virtual conference on machine learning on June 26: bit.ly/2H8zXnh

janelia.org 06/04/2019

Dates & Process | Janelia Research Campus

Thanks to everyone who submitted applications to our competition to decide Janelia’s next research area. We are no longer accepting pre-proposals. Stay tuned for updates!

janelia.org HHMI is hosting an open, international competition to decide Janelia’s next research area. We are looking for a big idea that addresses a major unsolved problem in the life sciences, and a scientist to lead it.

janelia.org 05/31/2019

Astrocytes Protect Neurons From Toxic Buildup | Janelia Research Campus

Astrocytes recycle toxic molecules offloaded by neurons. New research from Janelia scientists in this week’s issue of Cell shows how it happens.

janelia.org Neurons off-load toxic by-products to astrocytes, which process and recycle them.

janelia.org 05/06/2019

Female Flies Respond to Sensation of Sex, Not Just Sperm | Janelia Research Campus

A new study from Ulrike Heberlein and Lisha Shao IDs neurons in female fruit flies that respond to the feeling of sex by shutting down future mating attempts. It’s a way that female flies may determine they’ve successfully mated, well before their body detects sperm. https://www.janelia.org/news/female-flies-respond-to-sensation-of-sex-not-just-sperm


amacad.org 04/17/2019

New 2019 Academy Members Announced

Congratulations to Sr. Group Leader Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz on her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences!

amacad.org More than 200 individuals with compelling achievements in academia, business, government, and public affairs were elected to the Academy in 2019.


Janelia enjoyed a visit from some very good dogs from @heelinghouse this week! Thanks to JARS for the inaugural “Pause to Pet” event.
@ Janelia Research Campus


A cloudy day on campus. Photo credit: Anna J. Chang



Janelia scientists come from diverse backgrounds—We have biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists who work together to solve biological problems. Who is eligible for the opportunity to lead a new research area at Janelia? Zari Zavala-Ruiz has the details. https://www.janelia.org/our-research/competition/opportunity

janelia.org 03/06/2019

Animal Development Comes into Focus with New Imaging Technology | Janelia Research Campus

By inventing technology to peer into early vertebrate development, Philipp Keller and his team are helping to solve one of biology’s most intriguing problems – how a single cell grows into an animal capable of complex tasks. Read more about what’s possible at Janelia.

janelia.org Janelia Group Leader Philipp Keller's laboratory has a knack for finding ways to make the invisible visible. By inventing technology to peer into early vertebrate development, Keller and his team are helping to solve one of biology's most intriguing problems - how a single cell grows into an animal ...

janelia.org 03/01/2019

Artificial Intelligence Gives Researchers New Insights Into the Brain | Janelia Research Campus

Researchers in the Branson lab used a program called JAABA to develop an interactive, cellular-level map of which neurons in the fruit fly brain lead to certain behaviors. Over 18 months, the team studied 400,000 fruit flies performing social behaviors and movements like walking, stopping, aggressive chasing, and the courtship behavior of wing opening. It would have taken humans around 3,800 years to analyze that video data.

janelia.org Research Scientist Alice Robie, a neuroscientist working in a Janelia Research Campus computer science lab, has a unique opportunity to help other biologists extract meaning from their large datasets. "Making usable tools is a much more difficult engineering problem than simply writing an algorithm,...



We’re asking applicants who submit proposals to our new research area competition to describe their leadership and mentoring philosophies. Senior Group Leader Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz explains why that’s an important part of the application. https://www.janelia.org/our-research/competition/opportunity

sciencemag.org 02/22/2019

Q&A: Ron Vale, new chief of Janelia Research Campus, on why 15 years is a good research time frame

A Q&A with Ron Vale on his upcoming new job as the next director of Janelia and what he's looking forward to.

"I'm greatly interested in science culture and that’s one of the reasons I was very attracted."

sciencemag.org Cell biologist takes helm of Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s research center early next year

janelia.org 02/20/2019

Ron Vale Named Next Executive Director of Janelia Research Campus and HHMI Vice President | Janelia Research Campus

Janelia will welcome HHMI Investigator Ron Vale to campus as our next executive director in early 2020. https://www.janelia.org/news/ron-vale-named-next-executive-director-of-janelia-research-campus-and-hhmi-vice-president

janelia.org Vale, an HHMI investigator at the University of California, San Francisco, will serve as the second executive director of the Ashburn, Virginia-based biomedical research center.

Videos (show all)

1. overview_video.mp4
Correlative microscopy overview video .mp4
Movie s1 clip 1.mp4
New Microscope Offers 4-D Look at Embryonic Development in Living Mice
Janelia New Research Area Competition
shrimplike_crustacean from release
MouseLight Demonstration


Reagents, Software, Tools & Instruments

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Publications by Janelia Scientists:



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