"…a modern scholar who is in a position to acquire more than superficial knowledge about many different interests"
In more than six years at Janelia Farm Research Campus, Jason Osborne has always taken on any challenge that comes his way. As an innovator with the Instrument Design & Fabrication group, his primary focus is the development of cutting edge steriotactic lab equipment, electrophysiology instrumentation for in vivo and in vitro, optogenetics applications and behavior assay systems for neural research. Twenty-one years of experience in the medical, aerospace, and connector manufacturing industries have uniquely positioned Jason to create advanced neuroscience tooling unavailable in industry but custom made for Janelia Farm researchers and visiting scientists alike. Collaboration with JFRC researchers has resulted in multiple licensing opportunities, co-authorship on a Nature Methods article ( non-contact, 7KHz, real-time motion tracking of a tethered, walking animal powered by optical computer mouse technology), and distribution of the new technologies to the broader science community.
One of Jason’s current projects is a steriotactic RIVETS (Rodent In Vitro Electrophysiology Targeting System) system that allows researchers to practice in vivo, in vitro and imaging on one complete compact system. The original concept design was in collaboration with Dr. Josh Dudman, which the primary experimental role was in vitro experiments. After much success Dr. Gabe Murphy began to consult with Jason and Dr.Dudman on integrating In Vitro and imaging into the steriotactic rig. The system is now in fine tune phase and is being use in a yet third lab, Dr. Adam Hantman, which will practice both in vitro and imaging. Jason is part of the research efforts of a number of Janelia labs, including those of Scott Sternson.
Pictured: Jason, Deniz Atasoy and Yeka Aponte
Jason initiated, and led, a team building project, the Kinetic Sculpture race team at Janelia Farm. Members of the team range from 20-60 years of age and include representative samples of every discipline present on the Janelia Farm Campus. The race was held in Baltimore MD, May 2011.
In addition to his day job as an instrument designer, Jason is also co-founder and President of Paleo Quest, a 501(c)3 non-profit citizen science organization designed to advance the sciences of paleontology and geology through material contributions to museum collections, field exploration, scientific publication and the advancement of science education. Jason, along with Paleo Quest co-founder Aaron Alford, has develoiped SharkFinder, a citizen science and STEM education program aimed at finding fossil elasmobranch (shark,skate and ray) remains that bring real, tangible science to classrooms and citizen scientists alike. He also promotes STEM education as a STEM mentor, host researcher and research lead for the JASON Learning/ National Geographic / Sea Research Foundation. The SharkFinder classroom-sourcing model was demoed at Google SciFoo camp in Mountainview CA, August 2012 and this citizen science model has captured the eye of The White House. Jason was honored the prestigious Champion of Change award by The White House , Executive Offfice of The President, Office of Science and Technology Policy in June 2013. Champions of Change White House blog
The Fossil Hunter
Jason has discovered new species and earliest occurrences of many new species, including the earliest documented Protocetids (the ancestors of modern whales) in Virginia. He is a specialist in low visibility and swift current scuba diving methods including underwater formation exploration and identification, sampling and extraction. Jason is a member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and The Paleontological Society and was recently published in the Journal of Paleontology.
Janelia Farm recently sponsored a display focused on some of Jason’s fossil finds. Dr. Robert Weems, a retired paleontologist with the USGS (United States Geological Survey) and colleague of Jason’s at Paleo Quest, introduced the collection with a colloquium on the diversity of fossil species in Virginia. The display is currently housed in the HHMI headquarters. Both Jason and the display were featured in HHMI media in 2010.