Jacob’s PhD research at the University of Pennsylvania and the National Institutes of Health examined fundamental cell biology questions around how cells purposely initiate, process, and repair DNA breaks during cell division while avoiding catastrophic consequences. He developed next-generation sequencing strategies to better understand DNA repair in various contexts important to human health, including meiotic germ cells, human neurons, and cancer cells.
As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Jacob will pivot into systems biology to work with fruit flies to explore tissue communication networks and to develop a systems-level understanding of health and disease. In the lab of Dr. Norbert Perrimon at Harvard Medical School, Jacob will combine powerful fly genetics and multi-omics approaches to uncover how organs communicate stress to maintain organismal health, a critical and difficult to study aspect of many diseases. To gain this insight, Jacob will use a variety of disciplines, such as physiology, metabolism, immunology, bioinformatics, and evolutionary biology.
For centuries, physiology as a discipline has sought to understand how organs work together to achieve health and overcome disease. Jacob hopes that his research in tissue communication networks can provide fundamental insight into how our bodies remain healthy over time.