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Junkun Ren

Darwin Welcomes New Graduate Student Junkun Ren

A warm Darwin-welcome to Junkun Ren who recently joined the group.

The Darwin Project is thrilled to add a further stellar new MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate student to its ranks this fall.

Junkun Ren is a first-year graduate student in Biology in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. Before joining us she worked at the Theoretical Ecology Lab at Peking University in China.

Junkun credits an infectious disease transmission modeling course the took with triggering her interest in modeling ecological interactions and patterns. She says, “Starting from there, I became quite interested in mathematical ecology and biology, the amazing interactions and phenomena in nature, and understanding their underlying mechanisms.”

It was after particularly enjoying a paper by Mick on a food-web model of marine plankton Junkun recognized her common interest with work in the Darwin group. “I felt like our interests are a great match so I reached out to Mick,” she says.

Junkun’s email is

Story image: When not mathing ecology and biology, Junkun says she likes reading novels a lot, especially Chinese ancient ones. She also enjoys playing video games.





Mukund, who defended his doctoral thesis in April 2020, has broad interests in climate science and physical oceanography. He says work on the ocean carbon pump around Antarctica he undertook with Mick during his PhD, fostered his interest in biogeochemical cycles.

Now back working with Mick, Mukund is analyzing output from Darwin model numerical simulations looking at nutrient fluxes in the Pacific subtropical gyre, trying to understand the role of mesoscale eddies in supplying nutrients to the euphotic zone.

For his undergraduate degree, Mukund studied mechanical engineering at Cambridge University in the UK. His doctoral thesis “Climate Response to Perturbations: Role of Ocean and Sea Ice” was advised by John Marshall, in EAPS at MIT.

Story image: When he’s not hard at work analyzing Darwin output, Mukund says he enjoys woodworking, a new hobby since the start of the pandemic.


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