Janelia Farm Research Campus

Centro di ricerca dell’Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Ashburn, Virginia / United States / 2006

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3 Love 8,419 Visits Published
EN Seizing an opportunity for expansion in 2001, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) initiated a competition for master planning solutions to create a state-of-the-art research campus, including laboratories, a conference center and hotel facility, and on-site housing. The program was intended to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration in order to advance medical science. Rafael Viñoly Architects’ solution delivered an environmentally and technologically advanced collection of buildings integrated within a pastoral setting. HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus sits on 689 acres (279 hectares) bounded by forest on two sides, within a sloping hillside offering generous views of the Potomac River and the verdant Maryland fields beyond. Set into this tranquil panorama, the 1000-foot-long (305-meter) Landscape Building, named in reference to its near concealment in the terrain, emerges from the topography in a series of three descending planted terraces. Conference housing and residential village areas lie to its northeast. What the Landscape Building conceals from above, it reveals from below. Beneath a 180,000-square-foot (16,723-square-meter) green roof, the second largest in the United States, sown with indigenous vegetation, the undulating building levels contain labs, communal spaces, meeting rooms, offices, and support areas. The interior retains sightlines of the exterior plain and benefits from ample daylight exposure, despite lying partially under ground. The building’s curving plan lends variety to its longitudinal distribution. Mechanical rooms, service corridors, support spaces, and lab benches run parallel in an extrusion punctuated by alternating office/conference room clusters and open terraces. The office cluster/open terrace rhythm promotes collegial interaction and provides opportunities for identifying individuals along the building, thus furthering one of HHMI’s stated aims. The lab achieves a high level of flexibility. Without contractor assistance, existing elements can be reconfigured, completely removed, or replaced with new ones. A floor grid encases data, electrical, and gas systems, supplying interchangeable connections among furnishings and lab benches. The labs and conference center share a common courtyard with conference housing. Visitors stay in a ninety-six-room hotel, enjoying lake views. A residential village lodges researchers and their families in comfortable accommodations. “At Janelia Farm,” says Rafael Viñoly, “the landscape is the building: it creates a counterpoint between technology and nature that enriches the research performed there. It is a highly technical structure in terms of equipment and flexibility, and yet the entire composition looks like a natural thing.” Mission A nonprofit medical research organization, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) was established in 1953 by the famed aviator-industrialist. The institute, headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is one of the largest philanthropies in the world, with an endowment of $14.8 billion at the close of its 2005 fiscal year. HHMI spent $483 million in support of biomedical research and $80 million for support of a variety of science education and other grants programs in fiscal year 2005. HHMI is dedicated to discovering and disseminating new knowledge in the basic life sciences. The Institute grounds its research programs on the conviction that scientists of exceptional talent and imagination will make fundamental contributions of lasting scientific value and benefit to mankind when given the resources, time, and freedom to pursue challenging questions. HHMI prizes intellectual daring and seeks to preserve the autonomy of its scientists as they pursue their research. Historically, HHMI investigators have conducted their research in HHMI research laboratories on the campuses of universities and other research organizations throughout the United States. Seizing an opportunity for institutional expansion, HHMI purchased the Janelia Farm Research Campus (near Leesburg, Virginia) in 2000, and initiated a competition for master planning solutions in 2001. The Janelia Farm Research Campus is HHMI’s first wholly owned and operated research campus. RVA was selected for the project in an unusual design competition that was structured as an ongoing collaborative design development process between the HHMI architect selection committee and the four participating firms (Rafael Viñoly Architects; Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; and Kallman McKinnell & Wood Architects). Early in the competition, the RVA design team became convinced that the best location for the research building—the largest and most important element on the campus—would be approximately halfway between the manor house and the river in a position that intersects the view easement. This led to a distinctive solution that ultimately secured the commission. The challenge was to create a state-of-the-art research campus—including laboratories, a conference center and hotel facility, and an on-site housing provision—intended to free researchers from the limitations of traditional investigative work and foster cross-disciplinary collaboration in the name of advancing medical science. The solution provided an environmentally sensible and technology-conscious collection of buildings, all seamlessly positioned within a pastoral setting. Design The 1,000-foot-long centerpiece “Landscape Building”—so named due to its near-concealment in the campus terrain—emerges from the topography in a series of three descending planted terraces. Here, researchers utilize modern laboratories, designed to adjust synchronously with shifting research demands. To the northeast lie conference housing and residential village areas. What the Landscape Building conceals from a higher elevation is revealed when viewed from the main entrance hall on the lowest level. Beneath the second-largest green roof in the United States (sown with indigenous vegetation), the undulating building’s three levels contain communal spaces, labs, meeting rooms, offices, and support areas. Floor-to-ceiling glazing divides the upper stories into three sections: open-plan laboratories, a service passageway, and a building-length circulation corridor that connects to elevator banks and distinctive glass-enclosed staircases. Through one of the world’s largest structural glass installations, the building interior retains its sightlines of the exterior plain and benefits from ample daylight exposure, despite lying partially under ground. The building’s curving plan provides variety to its longitudinal distribution: mechanical rooms, service corridors, support spaces, and laboratory benches parallel each other in an extrusion punctuated by alternating office clusters that encircle conference rooms and open terraces cultivated with local flora. The office cluster-open terrace rhythm promotes collegial exchange and interaction, furthering one of HHMI’s stated aims. Break-out spaces designed to encourage casual interaction are located at critical connections between public corridors, laboratories, and office clusters. Textural finishes including 6-foot spans of whiteboard in laboratories as well as lounge areas encourage spontaneous conversations and discourse in a variety of settings. The roof terraces are carefully researched green roofs planted with meadow grasses or short grasses which form habitable outdoor terraces—in all, the Landscape Building features a 180,000-square-foot green roof, making it the second largest in the United States (after the Ford Motor Company plant in Dearborn, Michigan). The office spaces (the small volumes resting on each green roof terrace) are one of the strategies for providing daylight internally and orchestrating ease of recording research results for scientists: they are adjacent to lab spaces but do not disrupt circulation. The laboratory bench space achieves a new level of flexibility. Lab benches can be reconfigured or completely removed and replaced with computer workstations or traditional offices. This can be done without electricians, carpenters or plumbers and without special tools. Furniture and lab benches are “plugged” into gas, electric and data systems that are available in a regular floor grid. VAV boxes, circuit breaker panels and piping are all accessible from the service corridor providing a flexibility that is achieved without the extra cost and inconvenience of interstitial floors. A 15-foot wide service corridor allows major scientific or mechanical equipment to be moved into place directly from the building’s loading bays without hoists or special equipment. On a day-to-day basis, users control their environment through personal task lighting and adjustable-height lab benches. The Landscape Building, with its laboratories and conference areas, shares a common entry court with the conference housing, immediately northeast. Visiting speakers and attendees stay in the two-story, 96-room hotel, just beyond the vista seen from the laboratories. Each guest room also offers lake views. The residential village, located further to the east, lodges individuals from graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to Janelia Farm senior fellows and their families in comfortable living accommodations. The village can accommodate over 100 scientists for longer tenancies (such as the duration of a grant), in units ranging from studio apartments to four-bedroom townhouses. Building finishes take cues from the strong architecture, pairing cool simplicity with innovation and durability. The laboratories are finished with seamless urethane terrazzo (the largest installation of the product in the United States) that is specifically formulated and designed to mimic the exotic Italian Basaltina stone that is used throughout the building’s ground floor. The seminar room and auditorium allow for highly-specialized scientific presentations that are sensitive to resolution and light. A sophisticated audio-visual program coupled with custom-designed upholstered seating, custom-designed tablet arms, and ergonomic bent-wood benches complete the need for comfort and convenience. Mesquite and Hornbeam end-grain wood is utilized to lend an inviting warmth to intimate gathering spaces. Notably, one hundred percent of the trees cut from the site were recycled, becoming 35,000 board-feet of plank flooring for guest rooms and visitor housing, or mulched for application on the green roof. Basaltina stone, quarried in Italy, was selected for the ground-floor conference and meeting areas because of its velvet-like surface, durability, and consistency. The stones (approximately nine inches wide and 24 inches long) were carefully laid out with a computer to follow the curving plan of the building, with the expansion joints located and detailed so as not to disrupt the continuous flowing pattern of the floor. Granite from India, used for the monumental stairs, was quarried in large stabs approximately six inches thick, nine feet long and one foot wide. Each stair tread is constructed of one of these stone slabs and supported on a steel structure. Stairway lighting is integrated into the nosing of the stair. A fieldstone quarried locally in Leesburg, Virginia, was used to construct the site walls, a large garden wall, and exterior finishes on the housing. Laid in random rectangular sizes with struck joints, this stone is one of the more distinctive features of the site and defines the roadways as well as the main entrance to the conference center and research building. Site The Janelia Farm Research Campus sits on a 689-acre parcel near Ashburn in Virginia’s rapidly developing Loudon County. Located on the bank of the Potomac River, just north of Dulles International Airport, the campus’s sloping hillside offers generous views of the river, Selden Island, and the verdant Maryland fields beyond. The upper part of the campus consists of a large meadow that descends to the river and is bordered on two sides by thick forests of oaks and other specimen trees. The grounds previously formed the estate of the Pickens family, and a Norman-style manor house, built in 1925 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, still stands on the site. An easement stipulates that the northward view from the house to the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland remain unobstructed, which posed a challenge for the siting of the Landscape Building. The Rafael Viñoly Architects site comprised 281 of the campus’s 689 acres. Program The facility’s most innovative programmatic component was conceived by Viñoly to safeguard against obsolescence. A vast, cavernous, double-height space, christened the “factory,” runs the length of the entire building behind the first and second levels and beneath the third level labs. It houses a vivarium at one end but otherwise remains completely available for future expansion or the installation of advanced research technologies yet to be invented. Circulation The internal organization of the laboratory building uses a logical long corridor to make the building legible internally, while naturally allowing for clustering and division of space for mechanical rooms, service corridors, support spaces and laboratory benches, which parallel each other along the length of the building. The rhythm of these spaces is relieved by common areas for meeting and interaction. Office clusters organized around a conference room and shared support areas are placed regularly along the glass-walled circulation of the laboratories and are immediately accessible from them. The arrangement of these office clusters promotes interaction and exchange, which encourages development of communities of researchers from diverse disciplines sharing a common research goal interacting with scientists not affiliated to their team. The site is planned with ease of interaction in mind. One central entry court is shared by the hotel and conference centre further down the slope, keeping a defined relationship to the main research building. The end of the conference hotel forms the beginning of the housing provision. The housing for those staying a short period is arranged to foster communication with other residents, while more secluded arrangements are offered to scientists bringing their families. The conference facilities are located on the ground floor of the laboratory building. They are vertically connected to the laboratories by two monumental glass-enclosed stairways and are intersected by garden courts that bring light and vegetation to the heart of the building. A lake located outside the glass enclosed conference area has outdoor dining spaces and paths that lead into the forest and descend to the bank of the Potomac River. Sustainability Use of materials and the sustainability of the design are based on a ground-up approach to working on the site. On-site resources were used and re-used wherever possible. During the build itself, one hundred percent of the trees removed onsite were used as interior floors, finishes and veneers, and all the rock removed during site preparation became the aggregate the concrete was based on or was used as ballast. A concrete plant was constructed on–site to eliminate need to truck in concrete from off-site plants. Sustainable choices were made through the full process of the build, and the site is of course provided with the infrastructure for recycling by end users. When new materials were used, they were specified carefully: low-E glazing is used to reduce heat gain, LED street lights reduce maintenance and energy consumption, fast-growing bamboo is used for flooring, and sustainable wood species were selected for paneling and trim. Low volatile organic content paints and carpets and products with recycled content were chosen. Recycled content on a larger scale is integrated throughout; incorporated into the casework, lab bench, ceiling tiles, and steel. The landscaping is also sensitive to the site, with native plant species used to reduce maintenance and water consumption on the green roofs. The green roof and environmental lakes affect the heating and cooling efficiency of the site and allow storm-water retention, and meets the LEED requirement for efficient management of storm water and runoff rates. The lighting provision uses several passive strategies, such as solar shading on all offices, orientation of the building for glare-free north light and low solar heat gain. Quality of the interior environments are assured through operable windows on all investigator offices and conference rooms, landscaped courtyards at ground level for day-lighting and views, day–lighting of all bench labs and investigator offices and public spaces, and extensive use of user-controlled energy-efficient task lighting, as well as daylight and occupancy sensors which control interior lighting conserve energy. Specific internal servicing strategies include variable supply and exhaust system for research spaces, plenum air supply and exhaust to allow future flexibility without need for additional supply or exhaust reconfiguration, flexible laboratory bench system minimizing material waste for reconfiguration, adaptable support rooms to reduce the needs for future wall changes, energy efficient radiant floor heating, raised flooring for easy office reconfiguration air distribution, custom designed flexible open office systems, uniform distribution of infrastructure systems for future expansion and flexibility, on-floor access to all building systems from service corridor at all levels, high-performance laboratory flooring to reduce maintenance and the use of water and toxic detergents, high efficiency low emission boilers, all within a sophisticated building management system. The campus itself is pedestrian-oriented, with bicycle racks and shower facilities exceeding LEED requirements. Garden access is provided from offices, labs and amenities. On-site housing supports a visiting scientist program encouraging users to utilize the center of the site, which is reserved for pedestrians only. This housing provides for 20–25% of researchers and 100% of conference attendees and therefore reduces transport requirements, as does provision of day-care, recreation, fitness, food and social events on-site. Open spaces were preserved on site, exceeding local code by more than 25%. The project also far exceeds LEED 7.1 and 7.2 with extensive vegetative roofing that covers 65% of the building and with 100% of parking underground. The overall architectural strategy itself, with the buildings embedded into the site, reduces temperature variations and provides insulation and therefore reduces the environmental load of the project. The site also contains two acres of wetland mitigation area. The overall ethos is an integrated approach to sustainability from the smallest details of light fixtures to the major issue of confronting how to program in adaptability for unknown future needs, without designing in the need to demolish or build further. The goal of creating an appropriate and beautiful site for this exceptional research setting has been addressed with as holistic an approach as possible by harnessing past experience and leading edge technologies. Long Term Operational Efficiency The green roof and environmental lakes affect the heating and cooling efficiency of the site and allow storm-water retention, and meets the LEED requirement for efficient management of storm water and runoff rates. The lighting provision uses several passive strategies, such as solar shading on all offices, orientation of the building for glare-free north light and low solar heat gain. When new materials were used, they were specified carefully: low-E glazing is used to reduce heat gain, LED street lights reduce maintenance and energy consumption. Specific internal servicing strategies include variable supply and exhaust system for research spaces, plenum air supply and exhaust to allow future flexibility without need for additional supply or exhaust reconfiguration, flexible laboratory bench system minimizing material waste for reconfiguration, adaptable support rooms to reduce the needs for future wall changes, energy efficient radiant floor heating, raised flooring for easy office reconfiguration air distribution, custom designed flexible open office systems, uniform distribution of infrastructure systems for future expansion and flexibility, on-floor access to all building systems from service corridor at all levels, high-performance laboratory flooring to reduce maintenance and the use of water and toxic detergents, high efficiency low emission boilers, all within a sophisticated building management system. Schedule The vision of an unprecedented degree of scientific collaboration and interaction was achieved through a process that was itself highly co-operative. The institute, the architect and the builder established a project office at the site where all project meetings and major decisions occurred. All construction administration and management activities occurred in an integrated environment. The project’s organizational structure has achieved the same level of integration and collaboration that the Institute envisioned for its new campus. The initial design competition was held in 2001, and the building was completed in 2006, under a fast-track procurement schedule that took only four years from initial design to project completion. Exploring Design Options RVA was selected for the project in an unusual design competition that was structured as an ongoing collaborative design development process between the HHMI architect selection committee and the four participating firms. Early in the competition the RVA design team became convinced that the best location for the research building—the largest and most important element on the campus—would be approximately halfway between the manor house and the river in a position that intersects the view easement. This led to a distinctive solution that ultimately secured the commission. The RVA team then worked closely with HHMI’s architect, the director of planning for Janelia Farm and other members of the HHMI planning team to refine and implement the campus design. It is worth noting that this project is somewhat unusual in that the planning for both the scientific program and the campus facilities were intertwined, with each part influencing and overlapping the other. As a result of this process, the architectural designs of the building and the laboratories are aimed at achieving Janelia Farm’s central objectives – collaboration and flexibility. During the initial competition phase, the Owner wanted a single, tall structure. Rafael Viñoly felt strongly that horizontal buildings provided more flexibility for the future growth of the campus and allowed for opportunities for interaction among researchers, supporting the institution's interdisciplinary approach to research. His initial scheme included multiple low-rise buildings dispersed across the site. Through an open dialogue with the stakeholders, the scheme for the main laboratory developed into a single, horizontal structure that supported the institute's mission to foster cross-disciplinary research. From that decision came the notion of embedding the project into the hillside. The search for a solution that becomes the foundation for all future decision-making is a result of a collaborative process. This process encourages constituents to feel a sense of ownership that carries through from the design process to the use and occupation of the building. The involvement of the stakeholders on this project was fundamental to the success of the campus and the researchers themselves. Extensive LEED workshops were held in conjunction with the client. On-site resources were used and re-used wherever possible. During the build itself, one hundred percent of the trees removed onsite were used as interior floors, finishes and veneers, and all the rock removed during site preparation became the aggregate the concrete was based on or was used as ballast. A concrete plant was constructed on–site to eliminate need to truck in concrete from off-site plants. Sustainable choices were made through the full process of the build, and the site is of course provided with the infrastructure for recycling by end users. Determining Construction Costs The construction for the Janelia Farm campus was developed through a series iterative workshops during the first months of the Schematic Design Phase. These workshops were attended by the Owner, the Owners Project Representatives, Turner Construction Co. (the construction manager), a cost estimating consultant retained by the Owner directly, and the design team. Every component and system of the project was reviewed and a budget for each was developed and agreed to by the team. This became the base-line construction cost budget for the project. Throughout the Design Development Phase the construction cost budget was reviewed every two weeks. This review consisted of workshops to review every system and component of the project and how its cost may have been impacted by the development of the project. At these workshops the Owner was presented with a series of options together with costs and based on that information he would make a decision and direct the design team to document the decision. The project was procured on a fast-track schedule. This meant that bid packages were prepared sequentially. Each bid package was allocated a cost derived from the construction cost budget. If the bids were returned and they were in excess of the projected construction cost, a series of meetings were held with several low bidders and the costs were brought into agreement with the projected construction cost. This iterative process allowed the project to be delivered at the costs established during the Schematic Design Phase of the project. Monitoring Construction Activities The Institute, the architect and the builder established a project office at the site where all project meeting and major decisions occurred. The original design plan submitted by RVA was continually refined through a series of weekly design meetings, to reflect additional programmatic and architectural input from HHMI. The contemporaneous development of the scientific program and building plans by overlapping teams has assured a continual dialogue about function, culture, and place. Schedule, Cost, and Quality Control The vision of an unprecedented degree of scientific collaboration and interaction was achieved through a process that was itself collaborative and interactive.All construction administration and management activities occurred in an integrated environment. The design team relocated to the site to manage the fast-track construction schedule, which allowed for continual contact with the construction manager and owner’s representatives to review design issues and optimize costs. In order to avoid changes during construction and to expedite quality-control processes in the field through benchmarking, full-scale mock-ups of critical project elements were constructed and reviewed with the ultimate users.Furthermore, the enormous building site enabled significant economies of scale, with materials procured at a low unit cost and with great flexibility and ease in construction staging. The project was scheduled to open in the fall of 2006, and this deadline was met through a fast-track construction process. Participatory Planning Process The vision of an unprecedented degree of scientific collaboration was achieved through a process that was itself collaborative and iterative. This is the nature of design process employed by Rafael Viñoly, which depends on regular feedback from all stakeholders. The institute, the architect and the builder established a project office at the site where all project meetings and major decisions occurred. All construction administration and management activities occurred in an integrated environment. The project’s organizational structure achieved the same level of integration and collaboration that the Institute envisioned for its new campus. The design team worked closely with HHMI’s architect, the director of planning for Janelia Farm and other members of the HHMI planning team to refine and implement the campus design. It is worth noting that this project is somewhat unusual in that the planning for both the scientific program and the campus facilities were intertwined, with each part influencing and overlapping the other. As a result of this process, the architectural designs of the building and the laboratories are aimed at achieving Janelia Farm’s central objectives—collaboration and flexibility. Operational for seven years now, the complex is meeting its objectives. Design Challenges The first challenge was to develop a modern, world-class facility that related back to the historic Manor House. Regulations required a visual easement from the Manor House back to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Rafael Viñoly's solution was to lower part of the building to follow the contours of the topography as it sloped towards the Potomac. In doing so, he preserved views towards the mountain from the Manor House while simultaneously providing views from the "Landscape Building" despite lying partially under ground. Another challenge was to create a state-of-the-art research campus—including laboratories, a conference center and hotel facility, and an on-site housing provision—intended to free researchers from the limitations of traditional investigative work and foster cross-disciplinary collaboration in the name of advancing medical science. The solution provided an environmentally sensible and technology-conscious collection of buildings, all seamlessly positioned within a pastoral setting. Historic Influences Along with the Landscape Building, long- and short-term housing, and hotel, the program included the renovation and repurpose of the historic manor. The grounds previously formed the estate of the Pickens family, and a Norman-style manor house, built in 1925 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which still stands on the site. An easement stipulates that the northward view from the house to the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland remain unobstructed, which posed a challenge for the siting of the Landscape Building. Early in the competition, Rafael Viñoly became convinced that the best location for the research building—the largest and most important element on the campus—would be approximately halfway between the manor house and the river in a position that intersects the view easement. This led to a distinctive solution that ultimately secured the commission. IT Il Janelia Farm include un laboratorio, sale conferenze ed appartamenti destinati agli scienziati in visita presso l’istituto. Nell’area in cui sorge il nuovo complesso trovano spazio fitte foreste insieme alla residenza signorile georgiana, inserita nel Registro nazionale dei Luoghi storici, che giace lungo il pendio che declina verso il fiume Potomac. Preservare la natura bucolica del sito è stato l’obiettivo principale di Viñoly. Di qui la scelta di creare una struttura in grado quasi di perdersi nel paesaggio naturale circostante. Il laboratorio, elemento chiave dell’intero complesso, è stato non casualmente ribattezzato “Landscape Building”. L’edificio si sviluppa in orizzontale, per una lunghezza complessiva di circa 305 metri; scelta che consente di dissimulare tutta la sua maestosità. Se fosse capovolto e quindi messo in piedi, il Landscape Building diventerebbe infatti un grattacielo di 85 piani. Costruito lungo il pendio nella forma di tre file di terrazze discendenti, il laboratorio si estende nell’area circostante secondo un graduale movimento ondulatorio, conformandosi in tal modo alla topografia del sito. La fila che si affaccia sul lato della collina costituisce il corridoio meccanico, dove terminano tutti i servizi. Quella centrale ospita i laboratori; mentre l’ultima striscia, quella che si affaccia sul lago, accoglie uffici e spazi di incontro che si alternano con le terrazze all’aperto. Un corridoio vetrato a tutt’altezza percorre su ogni piano l’edificio in tutta la sua lunghezza, separando gli uffici dai laboratori e consentendo la penetrazione della luce naturale. Le tre file sono bisecate da due atri, entrambi ancorati ad una maestosa scala a sbalzo che dà accesso a tutti e tre i livelli, e che consente l’uscita sul prato all’esterno. I due atri sono stati immaginati come spazi per l’interazione, che incoraggiassero gli incontri tra gli scienziati.
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    EN Seizing an opportunity for expansion in 2001, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) initiated a competition for master planning solutions to create a state-of-the-art research campus, including laboratories, a conference center and hotel facility, and on-site housing. The program was intended to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration in order to advance medical science. Rafael Viñoly Architects’ solution delivered an environmentally and technologically advanced collection of buildings...

    Project details
    • Year 2006
    • Work started in 2004
    • Work finished in 2006
    • Client Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Research Centres/Labs
    • Websitehttp://www.rvapc.com
    • Websitehttp://www.hhmi.org
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