Whitehead Member Jing-Ke Weng named a Searle Scholar

Whitehead Member Jing-Ke Weng

Whitehead Member Jing-Ke Weng

Image: Jared Leeds/Whitehead Institute

April 14, 2015

Tags: Weng LabAwards + Announcements

Whitehead Institute Member Jing-Ke Weng is among 15 young scientists nationwide to be named a 2015 Searle Scholar.

Each Searle Scholar receives $300,000 in research support distributed over a three-year period. Weng and the 14 other recipients of the prestigious award were selected from a field of 186 applicants on the basis of their potential to make significant contributions to chemical and biological research over the course of their careers.

In announcing the 2015 awardees, Searle Scholars Program Scientific Director Doug Fambrough stated: "Each of these bold and talented young scientists has opened up novel approaches to answer fundamental questions in biology and the biomedical sciences. In addition, they have all thought deeply about how their work might address major human burdens such as cancer, autoimmunity, and autism. We are delighted to be able to give an early boost to their careers." 

Weng joined the Whitehead faculty in the fall of 2013, launching a research program focused on plant metabolism and its link to complex disease biology.

“It is indeed a great honor for me to be named as a 2015 Searle scholar, following the footsteps of many other Whitehead faculty members who were Searle scholars in the past,” says Weng.

“The Searle scholarship will allow us to pursue a very interesting research frontier in the lab — how does redox status in a cell regulates metabolic enzymes through the mechanism of cysteine oxidation? This project was spurred by an interesting observation in a plant metabolic system synthesizing pigments and antioxidants for the plants, but also has far-reaching impact on understanding many metabolic syndromes in humans, such as stress-induced obesity.” 

Weng is indeed following a well-worn path of Searle Scholars on the Whitehead faculty, including Members Terry Orr-Weaver, Hazel Sive, Peter Reddien, Iain Cheeseman, and current Whitehead Director David Page.

Since its inception in 1980 the Searle Scholars Program has distributed more than $115 million in funding among nearly 550 recipients. The Searle program is just the latest to recognize Weng’s promise as a young scientist. Last summer he was one of 22 such researchers named a 2014 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.

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Whitehead Member Jing-Ke Weng named a Pew Scholar

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