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Laboratory of Dr. William R. Jacobs Jr.


The Jacobs Laboratory is located at Albert Einstein College Medicine. It is the home of exciting research on the "death defying" pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  

 image from the cover of Journal of Infectious Diseases, July 2013

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Laboratory of Dr. William R. Jacobs Jr.


The Jacobs Laboratory is located at Albert Einstein College Medicine. It is the home of exciting research on the "death defying" pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  

 image from the cover of Journal of Infectious Diseases, July 2013

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Our Focus

Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, causes one in four avoidable deaths in the Third World and kills more adults than malaria, AIDS, and all tropical diseases combined. In recent years, there have been dramatic increases in the numbers of new cases worldwide - one of the consequences of the AIDS epidemic. In addition to these increasing incidences, there has been an emergence of M. tuberculosis strains that are resistant to all seven anti-tuberculosis agents. These alarming trends have caused the World Health Organization to declare tuberculosis a global health emergency, a distinction never accorded another disease. My laboratory has focused its efforts on developing systems to genetically manipulate mycobacteria, particularly M. tuberculosis. These tools have allowed us to: 1) develop the luciferase reporter phage assay for rapid assessment of drug susceptibilities, 2) analyze the genes involved in resistance to tuberculosis drugs such as isoniazid, ethionamide, and etyhambutol, and 3) to identify specific phenotypic properties associated with a tuberculosis pathogenesis. Current research efforts are aimed at identifying genes involved in the virulence of M. tuberculosis, identifying novel drug targets, generating rapid and robust phage diagnostics for drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis, and engineering attenuated mutants of M. tuberculosis and other mycobacteria that can be used as live-cell tuberculosis vaccines.

Vaccine Development


TB Diagnostics

 

Mycobacterial Genetics

 

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Drug Discovery

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William R. Jacobs Jr.


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William R. Jacobs Jr.


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William R. Jacobs Jr. Ph.D., an HHMI investigator, Member of the National Academy of Sciences and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has dedicated his life to the study of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. leprae¸ the causative agents of tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy, respectively.  Using a novel mycobacteriophage vector, termed a shuttle phasmid, he was the first to introduce foreign DNA into mycobacteria in 1987.  Shuttle phasmids enabled the development of: 1) the first mycobacterial plasmid transformation system, 2) the efficient transposon mutagenesis, and 3) specialized transduction-an efficient allelic system that enables the generation of a complete set of precise null deletions of M. tuberculosis.  Moreover, shuttle phasmids enabled the development of reporter mycobacteria phages to rapidly assess drug susceptibilities of M. tuberculosis strains.  The Jacobs’ lab used newly developed genetics to identify the previously unknown target of isoniazid-the cornerstone of TB treatment, analyzed the primary attenuation of the vaccine strain BCG, and engineered M. tuberculosis-based TB vaccine strains.

Dr. Jacobs is also one of two leading HHMI investigators engaged in the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV, a partnership aimed at controlling the dual epidemic of HIV/TB that is particularly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently developing rapid diagnostic tests for XDR and MDR-TB using GFP- reporter phages. His work has shifted to focus on persistence in MTB- one aspect that can be considered the greatest impediment to the eradication of TB infection.

 

There is no sin in being ignorant; The sin is to remain ignorant
— Roy Curtiss III, Ph.D

People


Meet the members of the Jacobs Laboratory

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People


Meet the members of the Jacobs Laboratory

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