Faculty Profile

Dr. William R. Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D.

William R. Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Professor, Department of Genetics

Leo and Julia Forchheimer Chair in Microbiology & Immunology

Areas of Research: Mycobacterium tuberculosis genetics; mycobacteriophages; extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB); tuberculosis vaccines; mechanism of isoniazid action. Herpes simplex and Influenza vaccine development

Professional Interests

Extensively Drug Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis: The Death Defying Pathogen

Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, causes one in four avoidable deaths in the Third World and kills more adults than malaria, AIDS, and all tropical diseases combined. In recent years, there have been dramatic increases in the numbers of new cases worldwide - one of the consequences of the AIDS epidemic. In addition to these increasing incidences, there has been an emergence of M. tuberculosis strains that are resistant to all seven anti-tuberculosis agents. These alarming trends have caused the World Health Organization to declare tuberculosis a global health emergency, a distinction never accorded another disease. My laboratory has focused its efforts on developing systems to genetically manipulate mycobacteria, particularly M. tuberculosis. These tools have allowed us to: 1) develop the luciferase reporter phage assay for rapid assessment of drug susceptibilities, 2) analyze the genes involved in resistance to tuberculosis drugs such as isoniazid, ethionamide, and etyhambutol, and 3) to identify specific phenotypic properties associated with a tuberculosis pathogenesis. Current research efforts are aimed at identifying genes involved in the virulence of M. tuberculosis, identifying novel drug targets, generating rapid and robust phage diagnostics for drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis, and engineering attenuated mutants of M. tuberculosis and other mycobacteria that can be used as live-cell tuberculosis vaccines.



Selected Publications

  1. Vilchèze C, Jacobs WR Jr. (2019). “The Isonizid Paradigm of Killing, Resistance, and Persistence in Mycobcaterium Tuberculosis”. J Mol Biol. PMID: 30797860

  2. O'Donnell MR, Larsen MH, Brown TS, Jain P, Munsamy V, Wolf A, Uccellini L, Karim F, D'Olivera T, Mathema B, Jacobs WR, Pym A. (2019). “Early Detection of emergent drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) by flow cytometry-based phenotyping and whole genome sequencing”. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. PMID: 30670422

  3. Johndrow CT, Goldberg MF, Johnson AJ, Ng TW, Kunnath-Velayudhan S, Lauvau G, Kaplan DH, Gossel GH, Kadolsky UD, Yates AJ, Chan J, Jacobs WR Jr, Porcelli SA. (2018). “Suppresion of Th1 Priming by TLR2 Agonists during Cutaneous Immunization is Mediated by Recruited CCR2+ Monocytes”. J Immunol. 201(12):3604-3616. PMID: 30455402

  4. Bhatt K, Machado H, Osório NS, Sousa J, Cardoso F, Magalhães C, Chen B, Chen M, Kim J, Singh A, Ferreira CM, Castro AG, Torrado E, Jacobs WR Jr, Bhatt A, Saraiva M. (2018). “A Nonribosomal Peptide Synthase Gene Driving Virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis”. mSphere. 3(5). PMCID: PMC6211224

  5. Vilchèze C, Jacobs WR Jr. (2018).Reply to Yew et. al, “Vitamin C and Mycobacterium tuberculosis Persisters”. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 62(11). PMCID: PMC6201072

  6. Tiwari S, vanTonder AJ, Vilchèze C, Mendes V, Thomas SE, Malek A, Chen B, Chen M, Kim J, Blundell TL, Parkhill J, Weinrick B, Berney M, Jacobs WR Jr. (2018). “Arginine-deprived-induced ozidative damage sterilizes Mycobacterium tuberculosis.” PNAS. 115(39):9779-9784. PMCID: PMC6166831

  7. Kennedy SC, Johnson AJ, Bharrham S, Linderstam Arlehamn CS, XU J, Garforth SJ, Chan J, Jacobs WR Jr, Settle A, Almo SC, Porcelli SA. (2018). “Identification of Mycobacterial Ribosomal Proteins as Targets for CD4+ T Cells that Enhance Protective Immunity in Tuberculosis.” Infection and Immunity. 86(9). PMCID: PMC6105890

  8. Vilchèze C, Copelan J, Keiser, Weisbrod T, Washington J, Jain P, Malek A, Weinrick B, Jacobs WR Jr. (2018). “Rational Design of Biosafety Level 2-Approved, Multidrug-Resistant Strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis through Nutrient Auxothrophy.” MBio. 9(3). PMCID: PMC5974470

  9. Harbut MB, Yang B, Liu R, Yano T, Vilchèze C, Cheng B, Lockner J, Guo H, Yu C, Franzblau SG, Petrassi HM, Jacobs WR Jr., Rubin H, Chatterjee AK, Wang F. (2018). “Small Molecules Targeting Mycobacterium tuberculosis Type II NADH Dehydrogenase Exhibit Antimycobacterial Activity.” Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 57(13):3478-3482. PMCID: PMC6066186

  10. Vilchèze C, Weinrick B, Leung LW, Jacobs WR Jr. (2018). “Plasticity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis NADH dehydrogenases and their role in virulence.” PNAS. 115(7):1599-1604. PMCID: PMC5816213

  11. Vilchèze C, Kim J, Jacobs WR Jr. (2018). “Vitamin C potentiates the killing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by the first-line tuberculosis drugs isoniazid and rifampicin in mice.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. PMCID: PMC5826150

  12. Burn, C., Ramsey, N., Garforth, S.J., Almo, S., Jacobs, W.R., Jr. and Herold, B.C. (2017). "An HSV-2 single-cycle candidate vaccine deleted in glycoprotein D, DeltagD-2, protects male mice from lethal skin challenge with clinical isolates of HSV-1 and HSV-2". J Infect Dis. PMCID: PMC5853290

  13. Hanauer, D.I., Graham, M.J., Betancur, L., Bobrownicki, A., Cresawn, S.G., Garlena, R.A., Jacobs-Sera, D., Kaufmann, N., Pope, W.H., Russell, D.A., Jacobs, W.R., Jr., Sivanathan, V., Asai, D.J. and Hatfull, G.F. (2017). "An inclusive Research Education Community (iREC): Impact of the SEA-PHAGES program on research outcomes and student learning". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. PMCID: PMC5754813

  14. Retamal-Diaz, A., Weiss, K.A., Tognarelli, E.I., Freire, M., Bueno, S.M., Herold, B.C., Jacobs, W.R., Jr. and Gonzalez, P.A. (2017). "US6 Gene Deletion in Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Enhances Dendritic Cell Function and T Cell Activation". Front Immunol. (8)1523. PMCID: PMC5686121

  15. Stratton, T.P., Perryman, A.L., Vilcheze, C., Russo, R., Li, S.G., Patel, J.S., Singleton, E., Ekins, S., Connell, N., Jacobs, W.R., Jr. and Freundlich, J.S. (2017). "Addressing the Metabolic Stability of Antituberculars through Machine Learning". ACS Med Chem Lett. 8(10):1099-1104. PMCID: PMC5642018


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Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Michael F. Price Center
1301 Morris Park Avenue , Room 555
Bronx, NY 10461

Tel: 718.678.1075
Fax: 718.678.1085

Research Information

In the News

The Scientist quotes Dr. William Jacobs Jr. on the development of tuberculosis infections in humans on immune-boosting cancer treatments.

Science News interviews Dr. Betsy Herold about her new research with Dr. Bill Jacobs on an experimental herpes vaccine.

More media coverage