Jonathan Jacobs, MD, PhD

Photo of Jonathan Jacobs, MD, PhD

Dr. Jacobs’ research program focuses on characterizing host-microbiome interactions in patients with gastrointestinal, metabolic, and inflammatory disorders using a combination of human association studies and animal models, including humanized gnotobiotic mice. This evolved initially from several translational microbiome studies he performed investigating the mucosal microbiome and metabolome of inflammatory bowel disease patients compared to healthy family members or unrelated controls, stratified by genetic traits. These studies required the development and refinement of efficient pipelines for 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, metabolomics, and bioinformatics analysis of multi’omics datasets. He established the Microbiome Core for the UCLA Microbiome Center to offer a range of microbiome-related services to the local research community. This core became affiliated with the UCLA Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) in Neurovisceral Sciences and Women’s Health led by Emeran Mayer and Lin Chang. Through this collaboration, his laboratory assumed responsibility for sample processing, 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, and bioinformatics analysis for initial SCOR studies on sex differences in the brain-gut-microbiome axis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients and healthy controls, and their relationship to symptom severity and psychological parameters. This research led to a publication in Microbiome linking microbiome features to brain structural parameters and unpublished work was presented at last year’s Digestive Diseases Week showing that the gut microbiome predicts response of IBS patients to cognitive behavioral therapy.

The current proposal would build upon these collaborations to establish a unique research program within the UCLA Center for Neurovisceral Sciences and Women’s Health dissecting sex differences in brain-gut-microbiome pathways underlying IBS. He serves as co-lead of the Data Processing and Analysis Core, with primary responsibility for microbiome analyses across all three projects and joint responsibility with his co-Leads, Jennifer Labus and Arpana Gupta, for integrative bioinformatics analyses bridging the microbiome, metabolome, neuroimaging, and clinical parameters. This exciting research would draw upon his extensive background in microbiome bioinformatics and experience as Director of the UCLA Microbiome Core.