BOX 6-4HHMI’S Janelia Farm Research Campus

Starting in 2000, HHMI tried to discern which sorts of basic biomedical research, if any, were challenging to support through its university-based investigators program—that is, which types of research needed a new model in order to be fully realized. This analysis led to the conclusion that multidisciplinary research at universities was often frustrated by departmental decisions and prompted HHMI to build a free-standing, wholly supported multidisciplinary research institute.

The HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus opened in 2006 in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. By 2010, it will house 44 research groups, each capped at a small size (six researchers in the laboratory of a “group leader,” two in the laboratory of a fellow). The small group size encourages frequent interaction and collaboration and is inspired by the small teams that contributed to the success of Bell Labs.

One of Janelia Farm’s initial research emphases is mapping and understanding the neural circuits responsible for all complex behavior. This area of research provides an interactive environment, bringing together a variety of investigators, including neuroscientists, physicists, computer scientists, and chemists. Additional information about Janelia Farm is available at

From: 6, Enabling Research at the Intersection: Promoting Training, Support, and Communication Across Disciplines

Cover of Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences
Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences.
National Research Council (US) Committee on Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2010.
Copyright © 2010, National Academy of Sciences.

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