Jihong Bai grew up on the campus of Tsinghua University and lived in Beijing for 26 years. He received his undergraduate degree from Beijing Agricultural University (now China Agricultural University), and a master degree from Tsinghua University. He later joined the Biophysics Ph.D. Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he became a Badgers fan. In Madison, he studied biophysical properties of synaptotagmin, which is a major calcium sensor for the release of neurotransmitters. After receiving his Ph.D., he moved to Boston and joined the laboratory of Joshua Kaplan at Harvard Medical School to study synapse remodeling and neuronal communication using the nematode C. elegans. He joined Fred Hutch and started his lab in the winter of 2011.