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What Can Plants Teach Us About Treating Brain Disease?

From Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s, neurodegenerative diseases are on the rise — yet few therapies exist to combat them. That’s why the Collaborative Pairs program at CZI’s Neurodegeneration Challenge Network (NDCN) is bringing together scientists to explore new ideas and new approaches. Whitehead Institute members Jing-Ke Weng and Ankur Jain recently received support from the CZI Collaboratve Pairs program to find new ways to study and treat neurodegeneration by harnessing plant cells and the rich diversity of molecules those cells contain. Learn more here.

Illustration of a gold mountainscape and various lines reaching toward the sky with flowers on the ends.

Engineering resilient food crops

The Whitehead Institute announced today that it has received an anonymous $3 million grant supporting the Dr. Vincent J. Ryan Orphan Plant Project — research intended to bioengineer a series of under-studied food crops that will be both more nutritious and more resilient to climate change than many current crops. Ultimately, the Project aims to enhance global food security and help protect millions of people from hunger and malnutrition. The Project is jointly led by Institute Members Mary Gehring, Jonathan Weissman, and Jing-Ke Weng; and it combines their expertise in plant metabolism, genetics, and genome-editing technologies to establish a new integrated approach for precision crop engineering.

Photo collage of Mary Gehring, Jonathan Weissman and Jing-Ke Weng