The challenges presented by climate change are wide-ranging — and so must be science’s response. In this Director’s Dialogue, which took place on May 4, 2021, three Whitehead Institute scientists, Jing-Ke Weng, Mary Gehring and Jonathan Weissman, speak with Institute Director Ruth Lehmann about exciting opportunities for leveraging fundamental biological research to create biotechnologies that address some of climate change’s vexing effects.
They discuss plant biology research aiming to combat food insecurity by creating heartier and more diverse feed crops, new research approaches that enable scientists to sustainably synthesize therapeutic compounds from plants, and to pinpoint (and replicate) the genetic drivers of certain plants’ ability to thrive in difficult climates, and an exciting new strategy for carbon-sequestration.
A news piece introducing Weng lab research on medicinal plants of the world by Greta Friar.
Making our world more sustainable to preserve it for future generations will take not just one but many solutions. Researchers at Whitehead Institute are exploring how the natural world could teach us how to improve the sustainability of how we produce food, how we make medicines, how we make products more durable, and potentially how we remove carbon from the atmosphere. In this special episode of AudioHelicase, we’ll hear from researchers at the Institute that are pursuing creative solutions to sustainability that combine a passion for making a difference with boundless curiosity for the living world.
Joe Jacobowitz successfully defended his PhD thesis today through Zoom (the first time ever in the Weng lab history). Many congrats to achieving this remarkable milestone in your career at this challenging time! We will make up for the in-person celebrations at an appropriate time, hopefully in the near future.
Celebration poster by Sophia Xu
Plants have been used as medicine for thousands of years; could they contribute to a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic? This is what Whitehead Institute Member Jing-Ke-Weng set out to address in a new paper, published May 20 in the journal Molecular Plant. In the recent episode of AudioHelicase, he spoke about an herbal treatment being used to treat COVID-19 in China derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine, the work necessary for such a treatment to be translated to an FDA-approved drug, and why the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for basic, fundamental research in plant science and beyond.