Jonathan P. Jacobs, MD, PhD
Director, Microbiome Core, UCLA Microbiome Center
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. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Stanford University then joined UCLA to pursue gastroenterology training in the Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) program. He was awarded a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Pathology for his IBD microbiome research under the mentorship of Jonathan Braun and afterwards joined the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Division of Digestive Diseases faculty. He co-founded the UCLA Microbiome Center in 2015 and now directs the Microbiome Core, which provides a comprehensive suite of microbiome-related services to support microbiome research by the UCLA scientific community. His research has been published in a wide range of scientific journals including Gastroenterology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Microbiome, Gut Microbes, and Scientific Reports. Ongoing projects in his laboratory employ animal models and multi’omics analysis of patient cohorts to define the role of microbes and their products in IBD, obesity, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and other diseases.
David Meriwether, PhD
Carra A. Simpson, PhD
Georgina Xanthou, PhD
Carolina Koletic, MD
Pediatric GI Fellow
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. For his PhD thesis project, he has investigated the effect of panda derived probiotics on the intestinal microbiome and immune system of pandanized mice (i.e. mice colonized with panda-derived microbiota) in the setting of DSS-induced colitis. Zhou has joined the Jacobs Laboratory to study the effects of Crohn's disease associated genetic variants on the intestinal microbiota and susceptibility to intestinal inflammation. This has provided him with the opportunity for additional training in gnotobiotic models and microbiome data analysis as he completes his PhD training.
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. This research led him to join the Jacobs lab, where he has been involved in a study that aims to better characterize the brain-gut-microbiome axis and its role in gastrointestinal diseases. His other lab responsibilities include performing microbial DNA extraction and 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing of human and animal samples. After completing his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, Aaron hopes to pursue an MD along with a PhD in medicinal chemistry.
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. Within the lab, she is helping investigate interactions between stress, the gut microbiome, and inflammatory bowel disease flares. Outside of the lab, she is involved with the American Lung Association at UCLA, a club she co-founded that works to improve lung health and prevent lung disease through advocacy and education. In her free time, Lucy enjoys hiking, running, traveling to new places, and spending time with friends and family.
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 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 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. In addition to performing functions essential to the 16S sequencing pipeline, Grace helps maintain the gnotobiotic isolators for several germ-free studies. Outside of lab, Grace enjoys playing tennis and cooking.
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. His other lab responsibilities include performing behavioral assays, mouse handling, and genotyping mouse lines. After graduating from UCLA, Ryan hopes to pursue a master of nursing before practicing as a registered nurse. In his free time, Ryan enjoys grabbing coffee with friends, playing Dungeons and Dragons with his roommates, and exploring Los Angeles.
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. As an undergraduate in the Jacobs Laboratory, he strives to contribute to ongoing microbiome research projects and to develop his capability in research in general. Jason plans to one day attend medical school and pursue a career in oncology. In his free time, Jason enjoys jogging, weightlifting, playing chess, and reading.