Bill Jacobs lights the way to better tuberculosis drugs.
BY BRENDAN BORRELLILUSTRATION BY JORGE COLOMBOMARCH 27, 2014
Special Thanks to Amy Maxmen and Kimberly Newman
Acetic Acid/ Vinger Kills TB! Read on to see what Dr. Catherine Vilcheze has to say about the discovery.
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UAB Alumnus Revolutionizes Tuberculosis Research
By Meghan Davis
Bill Jacobs cracked one of the great problems in infectious disease research using a mathematician's heart, a molecular biologist's training, and a helpful handful of dirt.
Jacobs, a professor of immunology, microbiology, and genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, earned one of the top honors in American science when he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013. He won the honor, in part, for identifying new ways to target tuberculosis, which is still one of the world's great public health threats. But Jacobs, who earned his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology at UAB in 1985, says it all might not have happened apart from a fateful letter to Birmingham.
While studying math at Edinboro State College near Erie, Pennsylvania (actress Sharon Stone was a classmate), Jacobs took a microbiology course that sparked his interest. He applied to several microbiology graduate programs, but few even bothered to answer his inquiry letters. Then Roy Curtiss, Ph.D., founder of UAB's molecular cell biology graduate program, invited him to Birmingham for an interview and tour.
"I told Roy that I didn't know much biology," Jacobs says. "And he told me, 'There is no sin in being ignorant. The sin is to remain ignorant.' I decided that from that day forward, I wasn't going to be ashamed to ask questions in seminars."
Jacobs says he still uses Curtiss's quote to encourage his own students.
"This article demonstrates that Mycobacterium tuberculosis induces extracellular trap (ET) formation from not only human neutrophils but also human macrophages. In contrast to neutrophil ETs (NETs), the macrophage ETs (METs) are originated from the nuclei of infected macrophages. Interestingly, only a subset of M. tuberculosis is trapped in the METs, and the majority of bacteria still resides and continually grows in the macrophages. The authors clearly demonstrate that the METs are produced by heavily M. tuberculosis-infected macrophages and that IFN-γ enhances the MET formation and macrophage necrosis via the M. tuberculosis ESX-1 secretion system. This finding demonstrates a new role of IFN-γ in facilitating M. tuberculosis replication in human macrophages, and this process requires M. tuberculosis ESX-1, which is a major virulence factor."
Travis Hartman presented his thesis work today, September 26th 2013, to a receptive crowd and thesis committee. His work details a genetic screen employed to discover the basis for persistence in M. tuberculosis in vitro.
Congratulations Dr. Hartman!!
-from The Jacobs Lab.
After a few years and after much progress has been made on creating HSV-2 recombinant strains, Dr. Gonzaelz has chose to leave the Jacobs lab to take an Assistant Professor position at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. The research interests and goals of his lab are detailed in the complete post. We wish him the best of luck!
Click "View Post" for a full description of his new lab.
EINSTEIN Magazine cover story entitled, "TB WARS" profiles the Einstein research community's efforts to eradicate the deadly disease. Click here for the full story!
September 11, 2013
Our manuscript, "Identification of a small molecule with activity against drug-resistant and persistent tuberculosis"., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2013 (DOI: 10.3410/f.718020433.793483230), has been selected for F1000Prime. It was recommended as being of special significance in its field by Faculty Member Roy Lancaster.
You can read Dr Lancaster's recommendation at http://f1000.com/prime/718020433?subscriptioncode=d474c92e-3bec-4aef-a3bd-bfcee8270361
Congrats to all of the authors including :
Feng Wang, Dhinakaran Sambandan, Rajkumar
Halder, Jianing Wang, Sarah Batt, Brian C. Weinrick, Insha Ahmad1, Pengyu Yang, Yong Zhang, John Kim, Morad Hassani, Stanislav Huszar, Claudia Trefzer, Zhenkun Ma, Takushi Kaneko, Khisi Mdluli, Scott Franzblau, Arnab Chatterjee, Kai Johnsson, Katarina Mikusova, Gurdyal Besra, Klaus Fütterer, William R. Jacobs, Jr. , and Peter G. Schultz
Click "View Post" to read the review.
Click here for a copy of the PNAS Paper