September 18 in NYC: “Rediscovering the Wisdom of Traditional Herbal Medicine”

Hi-res-head-shotPlease join us on September 18, 2014 in New York City for a special presentation and cocktail reception with Whitehead Institute’s newest faculty member Dr. Jing-Ke Weng.

What: “Rediscovering the Wisdom of Traditional Herbal Medicine” featuring Dr. Jing-Ke Weng
When: Thursday, September 18, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm; presentation and cocktail reception
Where: The Home of Ruth and Jim Scheuer
Contact: Lauren Gilbert at 617-258-5489 or lgilbert@wi.mit.edu

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About the Speaker

Jing-Ke Weng’s research focuses on understanding the origin and evolution of plant-specialized metabolism at enzyme, pathway, and systems levels, as well as how plants exploit discrete small molecules to interact with their surrounding biotic and abiotic environments.

Certain botanicals produced by these processes have been used medicinally for thousands of years. In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, herbs are prescribed in cocktails thought to be more effective than any single ingredient. Weng is employing combinatorial approaches—from metabolomics and genomics to protein biochemistry and structural biology—to determine the mechanisms underlying this cooperative effect. Such an approach could yield a better understanding of complex disease biology at a systems level while informing the development of novel, personalized therapeutic combinations.

In addition, he utilizes plants as a unique model system with which to study human diseases, including metabolic syndromes and protein-misfolding diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Weng joined Whitehead Institute in the fall of 2013, having conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Joseph Noel at the Salk Institute. He earned his PhD in biochemistry from Purdue University and earned a BS in biotechnology from Zhejiang University. He is a member of the American Society of Plant Biologists, and has already won numerous awards, including the Tansley Medal for Excellence in Plant Science (2013) and the American Society of Plant Biologists Early Career Award (2014). Most recently, he was named a 2014 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.