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Yajie Niu

Senior Associate

Yajie Niu is a senior associate at Flagship Pioneering, working as part of a team of entrepreneurial scientists to conceive, create, resource, and develop the next generation of Flagship’s first-in-category ventures. She joined Flagship Pioneering in 2019 from Inari Agriculture, a Flagship Pioneering company, and brings expertise in molecular biology and agricultural biotechnology to the Flagship team.

At Inari, Yajie was one of founding team members and developed proprietary CRISPR tools for gene modulation. She played a key role in establishing a high-throughput cell screening platform that enables fast discovery and validation of target leads. She also implemented a next generation sequencing and data analysis pipeline for efficient molecular readout and phenotyping. She supported intellectual property development and is an inventor on 12 patent applications.

Prior to Inari, Yajie completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Jen Sheen at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School where she studied Ca2+ sensor kinase signaling in various plant nutrients and stress responses. Yajie completed her Ph.D. in molecular plant sciences at Washington State University, where she studied the primary signaling mechanism underling plant responses to the key defense hormone jamonate. Her work is considered among the most exciting discoveries in jasmonate signaling in the past decade.

In addition to her Ph.D., Yajie holds a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from Fudan University, China. She has published more than 10 peer-reviewed publications, including articles in the journal Nature. Her work has been cited more than 1,600 times.