Dr. Jihong Bai joined the Hutchinson Center faculty last month. He plans to study how brain cells target and communicate with each other in his new Basic Sciences Division lab.
Bai comes to the Center from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he spent six years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Molecular Biology and Neurobiology departments. He also did postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin–Madison after earning a doctoral degree in biophysics there.
At Harvard, Bai's work focused on understanding how signals in the brain lead to particular patterns of behavior, utilizing behavioral, genetic, biochemical, imaging and electrophysiological techniques to study signaling in the C. elegans worm brain. His lab team worked to define the cell biological mechanisms by which synapses—intracellular connections—are made different from each other.
Bai said the Center's creative and exciting environment and its fair and supportive treatment of junior investigators were only some of his many reasons for pursuing his career here.
"With his stellar track record and ambitious plans of study, I believe Jihong is poised to answer some of the most important and fundamental problems in membrane trafficking, synaptic strength and remodeling," said Dr. Harmit Malik, an evolutionary biologist in the Basic Sciences Division. "He adds to the existing expertise in these areas at the Center, but he brings a unique perspective combining biophysics and developmental biology in C. elegans to study various aspects of his projects."