Current Lab Members

 Jonathan P. Jacobs, MD, PhD

Jonathan P Jacobs, MD, PhD

Director, Microbiome Core, UCLA Microbiome Center Principal Investigator

Dr. Jacobs is a gastroenterologist and scientist studying the role of intestinal microbes in digestive diseases. He 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 an immunology laboratory studying rheumatoid arthritis with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

David Meriwether, PhD

David Meriwether, PhD

Project Scientist

Dr. Meriwether received his PhD in molecular and medical pharmacology from UCLA. After three years of post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Drs. Srinu Reddy and Alan Fogelman, he joined the Division of Digestive Diseases in July 2021 as a project scientist affiliated with the laboratories of Drs. Jonathan P. Jacobs and Martin Martin. Dr. Meriwether is an intestinal epithelial and inflammation biologist who investigates the etiology and pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease.

Carra A. Simpson, PhD

Carra A Simpson, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Simpson is a postdoctoral scholar from Australia who enjoys all aspects of gut-brain axis science, including preclinical mechanistic research, management of large patient cohorts, and data analysis using integrative systems biology. Dr. Simpson studied psychological sciences in her undergraduate degree, followed by a graduate certificate in biomedical sciences when she discovered her passion for microbiome research.

Georgina Xanthou, PhD

Georgina Xanthou, PhD

Visiting Scientist

Dr. Xanthou completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Athens in the Department of Biology and received her PhD in immunology from the University of Athens, Medical School. Dr. Xanthou performed her post-doctoral studies at the Leukocyte Biology Section in Imperial College as an EMBO-funded research fellow, wherein she delineated novel molecular mechanisms through which Th1 cell-associated chemokines regulate Th2 cell-driven allergic responses.

Carolina Koletic, MD

Carolina Koletic, MD

Pediatric GI Fellow

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.

Julianne Yang

Julianne Yang

Graduate Student

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.

Candace Chang

Candace Chang

Graduate Student

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.

Yi Zhou, MS

Yi Zhou, MS

Visiting Graduate Researcher

Zhou is a senior PhD student majoring in preventive veterinary medicine at Sichuan Agricultural University, China. He works in the Jacobs Laboratory as a visiting graduate researcher through a two-year CSC (China Scholarship Council) scholarship. Zhou has been engaged in animal microecology research since starting his master's degree in 2013.

Aaron Ahdoot

Aaron Ahdoot

Undergraduate Student

Aaron is an undergraduate at UCLA pursuing a degree in biochemistry. Aaron's past research experience includes working at Biomerica, a biomedical company located in Irvine, CA. There he worked on a diagnostic project aimed at identifying foods in an individual's diet that can cause a heightened immune response and when removed, can alleviate symptoms of a number of digestive diseases including Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Lucy Balish

Lucy Balish

Undergraduate Student

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, Lucy was also drawn to Dr. Jacob's Laboratory because of the wonderful people she knew were involved in it along with those she continued to meet within her first couple of weeks.

Anil Chaganti

Anil Chaganti

Undergraduate Student

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 to become a physician. During his free time, he likes to cook, hike, and eat at various restaurants with his family and friends.

Albert Duong

Albert Duong

Undergraduate Student

Albert is a second year biology major from Sacramento, California. He joined the lab to gain experience with biomedical research and learn more about how our microbiome plays a role in our health. His long-term goal is to attend medical school and ultimately become either a primary care physician or a pathologist, depending on whether he decides on a primarily clinical or research focus for his career. Albert enjoys drawing, playing games, cooking, and going to church.

Grace Murphy

Grace Murphy

Undergraduate Student

Grace is a microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics major with a minor in professional writing. She first became interested in the human gut microbiome during a physiological science course her freshman year. This initial interest led her to join the Jacobs Laboratory during her second year. Grace is specifically interested in the brain gut axis and how the gut microbiome impacts stress response.

Ryan Troutman

Ryan Troutman

Undergraduate Student

Ryan is pursuing a BS in molecular, cell, and developmental biology and a minor in global health. Before joining the Jacobs Lab, Ryan worked as an advisor and coordinator for UCLA’s New Student and Transition Programs and volunteered as a Care Extender for UCLA Health. In the Jacobs Lab, Ryan is exploring how susceptibility for Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia is influenced by the microbiome-gut-brain axis.

Jason Ye

Jason Ye

Undergraduate Student

Jason is a second year UCLA undergraduate student from Warren, New Jersey, who is pursuing a degree in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. He is particularly interested in cancer research and was inspired by his work on a clinical cancer drug trial at Bristol-Myers Squibb and as a research assistant at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at the Tuomas Tammela Lab.