Jonathan P. Jacobs, MD, PhD
Co-Director, Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Dr. Jacobs graduated magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard University with an AB in biochemistry. He subsequently received his MD from Harvard Medical School, graduating magna cum laude in a special field. During college and medical school, he trained in the laboratory of Diane Mathis and Christophe Benoist where he investigated the immunologic mechanisms of an autoantibody-mediated model of arthritis. This research was supported by a fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Stanford University then joined UCLA as a gastroenterology fellow in 2010. He pursued additional scientific training at UCLA through the Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) program under the mentorship of Jonathan Braun. He was awarded a PhD in cellular and molecular pathology in 2015 for his research on the intestinal microbiome and afterwards joined the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases faculty. He established the UCLA Microbiome Core in 2016 - which provides a comprehensive suite of microbiome-related services to support microbiome research by the UCLA scientific community - and is now co-director of the Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center.
Dr. Jacobs’ research explores the role of intestinal microbes in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other gastrointestinal disorders. This involves a translational approach that includes detailed characterization of patients’ microbiome by 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, metagenomics, and metabolomics as well as modeling of the effect of disease-associated human microbial communities in humanized gnotobiotic mice (i.e. germ-free mice colonized with human microbiota). He has published nearly 100 original research articles and reviews in scientific journals including Microbiome, Gastroenterology, Cell Host & Microbe, Genome Medicine, Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Gut Microbes, Scientific Reports, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. His ongoing projects employ animal models and multi’omics analysis of patient cohorts to define the role of IBD-associated genes in shaping the intestinal microbiome and to identify microbes and microbial products that promote IBD, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and other diseases.
Ezinne Aja, PhD
Dr. Aja is a researcher who has a passion for microbiology. She enjoys working with bacteria—especially anaerobic bacteria and is also interested in the role of the microbiome in various disease states. She studied microbiology in her undergraduate degree and obtained a PhD in microbiology and molecular genetics. Her doctoral work evaluated the role of various genes in oxidative stress resistance in oral bacteria and she assigned function to a hypothetical protein in Filifactor alocis.
Microbiome Core Manager
Shrikant Bhute, PhD
Dr. Bhute obtained his PhD from Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, India in 2017. His doctoral work involved characterization of healthy Indian microbiome and its association with the type-2-diabetes. He then moved to University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) for his postdoc in Dr. Brian Hedlund's lab. In the Hedlund lab, Dr. Bhute worked on mouse and hamster models of Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) and suggested that high-protein diet exacerbates the CDI outcome, whereas the high-carbohydrate diet was mostly protective in mouse model. Interesting observation from this study was that although the high-carbohydrate diet was protective, it led to the long-term carriage of C. difficile in both the animal models, indicating a complex interaction between diets and outcome and severity of CDI. After his first postdoc, Dr. Bhute moved to the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego where he worked as a postdoc on the industry-sponsored projects related to the host DNA depletion from metagenomic samples. He was actively involved in the development of novel methods for depleting host DNA from metagenomic samples. Overall, Dr. Bhute has over twelve years of experience in microbiome science and published over 25 scientific papers related to microbiome and microbial ecology of human gut and other habitats in reputed journals.
David Meriwether, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Dr. Meriwether received his PhD in molecular and medical pharmacology from UCLA in 2018. After three years of post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Drs. Srinu Reddy and Alan Fogelman, David joined the Division of Digestive Diseases in 2021. David is an intestinal epithelial and inflammation biologist who investigates the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease. His current work focuses in part on IBD-dependent dysregulation of inflammation resolution and resolution-dependent intestinal epithelial repair.
Carolina Koletic, MD
Dr. Koletic earned her bachelors of science degree in anthropology at UCLA and her medical doctorate degree at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine. Since college her passion has been to help children manage chronic disease so that they may fulfill their potential as adults. She is an active volunteer since 2007 at Camp Conrad Chinnock, a youth type-1 diabetes camp where she conducted her undergraduate honors thesis studying the socialization of youth with type-1 diabetes.
Adam received his BS in zoology from Michigan State University in 2020 where he has developed a background in managing colonies of laboratory research animals. Since then, Adam has continued working in laboratories specializing in comparative anatomy research. He joined the Jacobs' Lab in 2022 as the gnotobiotic facility manager.
Candace is a PhD student in the Molecular Toxicology Program under the joint mentorship of Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Jesus Araujo. In 2017, She completed her BS at UCLA in environmental science with a concentration in environmental health. She then volunteered at the UCI School of Medicine in the Air Pollution Health Effects Laboratory, where she participated in a cardiovascular project exploring the oxidative effects of particulate matter in ApoE -/- mice.
Julianne is a PhD student in the Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology Program who began her adventures in the Jacobs Lab in January 2020. She completed a BS in biochemistry and a minor in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she wrote her undergraduate thesis on how autism and epilepsy-linked mutations in potassium ion channels regulate their trafficking and membrane expression in neurons.
Matthew Zhao, BS, MD Candidate
Matt received his BS in chemistry from New York University, where he completed an undergraduate thesis on the application of nucleic acid crystallography towards nano-scale organization of conductive polymers. He is currently studying a Crohn’s disease associated genetic variant and its effects on small intestinal microbiota and susceptibility to an experimental model of enteritis. His work is being supported by an NIDDK T32 Medical Student Research Training Supplement.
Lucy is originally from Portland, Oregon, and is currently studying psychobiology. She plans to attend medical school after graduating from UCLA. Prompted not only by her curiosity to learn more about the human microbiome and the effects it has on the digestive system.
Anil is from Simi Valley, California, 45 minutes north of UCLA. He joined the Jacobs Laboratory to gain experience in digestive diseases research and further understand the role of the gut microbiome in our bodies. After graduating, he plans to attend medical school.
Midori is a fourth year physiological sciences major and global health minor from Carlsbad, California. She joined the Jacobs Laboratory interested in the relation between digestive health and the state of the human microbiome. After graduation, she plans to apply to medical school.
Sydney Seohyun Min
Sydney is currently studying molecular, cellular, developmental biology at UCLA on the pre-dental track. Her initial interest in microbiomes began after learning about commensal microbes and modern biotechnologies during her first year at UCLA. Combined with her passion for dentistry, Sydney is specifically interested in how oral microbiota dysbiosis impacts human health.
Renga is a second year UCLA undergraduate from San Jose, California, who is majoring in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics and minoring in biomedical research. Due to his personal experience with IBD, he chose to join Dr. Jacobs’ lab in order to learn more about the microbiome’s influence on regulating gut health. Renga plans to attend medical school and become a pediatric gastroenterologist.
Jelix is from San Francisco, California, and is currently majoring in physiological sciences and minoring in applied developmental psychology. He joined the Jacobs lab to learn more about the microbiome and its significance to human physiology.