"The greatest amount of life can be supported by great diversification of structure." Charles Darwin

About the PI

A native of China, Jing-Ke was among the first generation born under China's one-child policy mandated in the early 80s. His curiosity and interest in science was first stimulated by his father, a professor in geochemistry, who told him stories about continental drift, volcano formation, paleoclimate changes, Cambrian explosion, dinosaur extinction, etc. He spent much of his childhood time observing and catching insects, collecting rocks and plant specimens, and later building his own electronic devices. He also became very interested in art as a teenage, and almost chose a major in architecture entering college. He eventually decided on Biology after witnessing the unchallenging daily routine of a friend’s father, who was  an architect working in a small firm.

He received his BS degree in Biotechnology from Zhejiang University in 2003, where he did his undergraduate thesis research on the influence of intermittent hypoxia on learning and memory in neonatal mice under the guidance of Dr. Ji-Zeng Du. He also worked in his father’s laboratory on iodine biofortification of vegetables through the application of iodized fertilizer. He came to the United States for graduate study in 2003, and received his Ph. D. degree in Biochemistry from Purdue University in 2009, where he carried out his thesis research with Dr. Clint Chapple on the evolution of phenylpropanoid metabolism in land plants. He then did his postdoctoral research with Dr. Joseph Noel at the Salk Institute, learning structural biology techniques and trying to implement a combination of methodologies to address tough questions in the field of metabolic evolution.

He joined the faculty of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in 2013, and is also an Assistant Professor of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Besides being a scientist, he is also known by his friends as a classical music geek, a classical guitarist, a basketball fan, and an established tango dancer.


Contact Info

Jing-Ke Weng, Ph.D.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
(Office, Room 361C; Lab, Room 321)
9 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142-1479

Tel: 617-324-4921 (Office), 617-324-4922 (Lab)
Fax: 617-452-3566
Email: wengj@wi.mit.edu