At Janelia, Rubin directs scientific programs designed to speed the development and application of new tools for transforming the study of biology and medicine. A 760,000 square-foot biomedical research complex in Ashburn, Virginia, which opened in the summer of 2006, Janelia will eventually accommodate a research staff more than 300. It houses laboratories and provides short-term housing for visiting researchers, along with a conference center.

Rubin served as HHMI's vice president for biomedical research from 2000 to 2002, when he was appointed vice president and director of planning for Janelia Research Campus. Before moving to HHMI headquarters, Rubin was an HHMI investigator at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was the John D. MacArthur Professor of Genetics in the department of molecular and cellular biology. An internationally recognized geneticist, Rubin led the publicly funded effort to sequence the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster genome. In addition, his laboratory works to determine the function of fruit fly genes that have homology to human genes.

Rubin received his bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Cambridge in England. He did postdoctoral work at the Stanford University School of Medicine before joining Harvard Medical School in 1977 as an assistant professor of biological chemistry. In 1980 he joined the Carnegie Institution of Washington as a staff member in the department of embryology, and three years later moved to UC Berkeley. Rubin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.