Bert Jacobs, Ph.D.

Dr. Jacobs is Professor of Virology, former Director of the School of Life Sciences and a member of the Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy at Arizona State University. The main interest of Dr. Jacobs’ lab is poxvirus-host interactions; in particular, evasion of the innate immune interferon defenses by poxviruses. Disabling of the immune evasion genes in vaccinia virus has allowed the generation of highly-attenuated strains of vaccinia virus as improved vaccine vectors for diseases such as HIV, as well as viruses to potentially treat cancer. Dr. Jacobs was awarded the Governor’s Innovator of the Year Award in Academia for his work in vaccine development.

Dr. Jacobs received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and did postdoctoral research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before taking a faculty position at Arizona State University. He has been a member of the National Institutes of Health Virology Study Section, and has served on numerous biodefense-related study sections. He has been an active collaborator with Russian scientists at VECTOR, home of the Russian smallpox repository. 

Dr. Jacobs serves as Chair of the Arizona State University Institutional Biosafety Committee.  

Dr. Jacobs’ teaching interests include HIV prevention education to lay audiences. In this regard, he teaches a highly-regarded interdisciplinary HIV class at Arizona State University and spends several weeks each year in Africa teaching HIV prevention. Dr. Jacobs serves on the Board of Directors of 2 non-profit organizations dealing with public health: Aunt Rita’s Foundation and HEAL, International.