Xiao Wang joins faculty of Broad Institute and MIT

A chemist and molecular engineer, Wang develops and applies state-of-the art tools to understand how the brain works

Photo courtesy of Sergei Chumakov
Credit: Photo courtesy of Sergei Chumakov

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has appointed Xiao Wang, a chemist and molecular engineer, as a core institute member. Wang will also serve as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at MIT.

“Xiao is a tremendously creative scientist with a visionary approach to studying the nervous system,” said Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad. “We are delighted to welcome her to this community. Her efforts to map the brain at many scales—from nanometer to centimeter to whole tissue—will help illuminate the brain’s inner workings."

Wang is currently a postdoctoral fellow of the Life Science Research Foundation at Stanford University in the lab of Karl Deisseroth. There, she developed comprehensive methods for analyzing RNA in intact tissues that merge sequencing with imaging, in order to reveal the locations of various cell types in the brain and to find out how these cells are connected.

In her lab at the Broad and MIT, Wang will develop and apply new chemical, biophysical, and genomic tools to better understand brain function and dysfunction at the molecular level. She will begin on September 1, 2019.

“To truly understand such a complex organ as the mammalian brain, we need to develop new ways to map neural connections at different levels of resolution,” said Aviv Regev, core institute member, chair of the faculty, and director of the Klarman Cell Observatory. “We are excited that Xiao will be taking on this challenge at the Broad and MIT. She will be an invaluable and unique member of our community of researchers dedicated to building and applying cutting-edge tools to help improve biological understanding and human health.”

Wang received her B.S. in chemistry and molecular engineering from Peking University in 2010, where she studied with Professor Jian Pei and helped develop fluorescent organic materials. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 2015, where she elucidated the cellular functions of RNA modifications with Professor Chuan He. During her graduate studies, Wang was awarded the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad and the Elizabeth R. Norton Prize for Excellence in Research in Chemistry. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow and a Life Science Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow.