Designed to encourage collaborations, train young scientists, and promote the use of Janelia’s innovations and state-of-the-art technology, the Visitor Program brings scientists at all career stages and from around the globe to work on collaborative projects at Janelia. The program facilitates the interaction of visiting scientists with Janelia group leaders and/or project teams as well as with other Janelia scientists. Visitors participate fully in the intellectual life on campus.
Janelia’s current visitors range in career stage from graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to senior, established investigators. They represent multiple research disciplines, including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, and physics, to name a few. Since the inception of the program in 2007, more than180 scientists from 23 different countries, 19 US states and 50 institutions have participated in the Visitor Program.
Visitors are commonly scientists, and perhaps a member of their research team, who collaborate with one or more labs at Janelia. Some visitors spend a few weeks, while others spend several months, or even years on campus. Projects extending beyond a year are reviewed on an annual basis. Visitors have access to multiple resources, including laboratory and office/desk space, funds for supplies and travel, on campus housing and, in some cases, salary support for the visitor or dedicated staff.
Applications to the Janelia Visitor Program are accepted on a continuous basis. To apply to the program, please send a statement of research interest (including a brief description of the project, requested staff and costs), a list of potential Janelia collaborators and curriculum vitae to Zarixia Zavala-Ruiz. It is highly recommended that potential visitors establish contact with potential hosts at Janelia prior to submission of a proposal.
If you are a Ph.D. student and are interested in doing part or all of your thesis research work at Janelia, you should also consider applying to our Janelia Visitor Graduate Fellowship.
Professor Ulrike Gaul and graduate student Malte Kremer, from the Gene Center of the LMU Munich, study the role of glial cells in the development and function of the fruit fly brain. As visiting scientists in the Visitor Program, they collaborated with scientists at Janelia Farm to characterize glial-cell specific expression in fruit flies.
The morphology of glia in the adult Drosophila nervous system
The glia in the Drosophila adult brain have only partially been described, and while glial-specific drivers had been found within the Janelia collection of nervous system GAL4 drivers, they were not fully annotated or characterized. In this visitor project, Dr. Ulrike Gaul and graduate student Malte Kremer sought to use the drivers in the Janelia collection to identify all glial cell types present in the adult brain and characterize them with regard to their number, morphology, and intercellular interaction. Screening the entire collection of 7,000 GAL4 lines, they found 800 with glial expression, and 250 that are expressed specifically in glia. Among these 250, they identified not only lines that are generally expressed in all cells of a given glial cell type, but also lines with regionally restricted expression, especially in the optic lobes and the ventral nerve cord. This project will contribute to the understanding of the diversity and complexity of glial cell anatomy and provide important tools for future studies of glial function.
Dr. William Schafer and graduate student, Victoria Butler, from the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, are collaborating with scientists at Janelia through the Visitor Program to understand how patterns of neuromuscular activity generate C. elegans locomotor behavior.
The coordination of complex body movements uses sensory feedback to detect forces associated with body movements. The molecules involved in the sensory feedback as well as the mechanism by which the neural circuits regulate locomotion are not well understood. In collaboration with Drs. Dmitri Chklovskii and Rex Kerr at Janelia Farm, Dr. William Schafer and graduate student, Victoria Butler, have developed a tracking microscope that allows simultaneous recording of nematode behavior and neuromuscular calcium transients. They have generated transgenic lines expressing the fluorescent calcium indicator GCaMP3 in body wall muscle and sub-classes of motor neurons. The aim now is to use these lines to observe the muscle and neuron activity in behaving worms under different environmental conditions and in different mutant backgrounds. They hope to use the data collected to develop mechanistic models for C. elegans locomotion behaviors.
The application system for the Janelia Visitor Graduate Fellowship is now closed. Applications will open in the Spring of 2015.