Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, Einstein
Professor, Genetics, Einstein
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
Infectious diseasesTuberculosis (TB)Vaccines
Dr. Jacobs is pioneering the use of molecular genetics to control tuberculosis (TB), which kills nearly two million people a year. His research is identifying the genes that make Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) - the bacteria that causes TB - virulent, identifying new drug targets and engineering weakened strains that can be used as live vaccines. Dr. Jacobs was the first scientist to introduce foreign DNA into MTB, a technique now regularly used by TB investigators around the world.
Dr. Jacobs recently discovered two new ways of killing the bacteria that cause TB, a finding that could also lead to a therapy to prevent drug-resistant TB strains from developing. He also devised an onsite lab test that not only can quickly diagnose TB but can also distinguish treatable TB strains from those that are drug resistant—a process that ordinarily takes months. Dr. Jacobs is participating in a groundbreaking partnership between HHMI and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa; the partners are establishing an international research center that will contribute to the worldwide effort to control the TB-HIV co-epidemic and will train a new generation of scientists in Africa.
Bacterial genetics, Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), Immune responses, Multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), Mycobacteriophages