Jacques Robert, Ph.D.

Jacques Robert, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 672
Rochester, NY 14642

Research Bio

EVOLUTION OF IMMUNE SURVEILLANCE,
TUMOR AND VIRAL IMMUNITY



The overall goal of our research is to understand the co-evolutionary relationships between the structure of selected molecules (e.g., heat shock proteins [hsps], hsp-receptors [CD91], NK cell receptors [KIR, FcRs], non-classical class Ib molecules [XNCs]) and their functions in innate and adaptive immunity against tumors and viruses using the frog Xenopus laevis as animal model.

One specific research area addresses the postulated dual role of the hsps gp96 and hsp70 in immunity. The comparative tumor-immunity model developed in Xenopus provides an alternative to mice in order to explore the ability of hsps to generate responses against tumors that have down-regulated their MHC class Ia molecules thereby escaping immune surveillance. To better reveal the respective role of classical and non-classical MHC class I genes in immune surveillance and T cell development, we are developing transgenesis strategies to modulate their expression in vivo by RNAi knockdown and induced transgene expression.
A second area concerns phylogenetic history and biological significance several immune receptor gene families (e.g., KIR, FcR-like) that appear to regulate leukocyte functions through integration of inhibitory and activating signals, by genomic and genetic approaches based on the recently fully sequenced genome of the X. laevis sister species Silurana (Xenopus) tropicalis.
A third research area concerns basic comparative and applied studies of viral pathogenesis and immunity in amphibians caused by Poxvirus-like Iridoviruses such as Frog virus 3 (FV3). Because of the threat of emerging wildlife viral diseases on global biodiversity, fundamental research on comparative viral immunity has become crucial. We have established Xenopus as an important experimental model to study the host defense and the pathogenesis of Iridovirus infection, and evaluate the contribution of immunocompromised animals in the dissemination of the diseases. We are also developing a method to knockout (KO) putative virulence genes by site-specific integration of a selectable fluorescent marker into the FV3 genome. Susceptible Xenopus larvae provide an ideal model to evaluate the impact of KOs on in vivo virus load, host mortality and the induction of pro-inflammatory genes.

Xenopus laevis Research Resource for Immunology: The University of Rochester is home to the world's most comprehensive resource specializing in the use of the amphibian Xenopus laevis for immunological research. Several genetically-defined inbred strains and clones are available for study. The facility also maintains and develops research tools such as transgenic animals, monoclonal antibodies, cell lines, DNA libraries and molecular probes. The resource includes a satellite facility devoted to study infectious diseases caused by Iridovirus. The resource is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIAID).

Awards & Honors (Local)

Excellence in Research | University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester 2013
Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Education of the University of Rochester Medical Center | Graduate Education of the University of Rochester Medical Center 2011
Provost's multidsciplinary award | University of Rochester 2009 - 2010
Excellence in Research Award | University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester 2007
Travel award | AAI | 11th International Congress of Immunology, Stockholm, Sweden 2001
Travel award | International Society of Developmental and Comparative Immunolog | 8th ISDCI Congress, Cairns, Australia 2000
Cum laude graduate | University of Geneva | Department of Animal Biology, (Switzerland) 1990

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 94 available »

2014 Jun 28
Sifkarovski J, Grayfer L, De Jesús Andino F, Paige Lawrence B, Robert J. "Negative effects of low dose atrazine exposure on the development of effective immunity to FV3 in Xenopus laevis." Developmental and comparative immunology.. 2014 Jun 28; 47(1):52-58. Epub 2014 Jun 28.
2014 Jun 5
Robert J, Edholm ES. "A prominent role for invariant T cells in the amphibian Xenopus laevis tadpoles." Immunogenetics.. 2014 Jun 5; Epub 2014 Jun 05.
2014 Jun
Edholm ES, Goyos A, Taran J, De Jesús Andino F, Ohta Y, Robert J. "Unusual evolutionary conservation and further species-specific adaptations of a large family of nonclassical MHC class Ib genes across different degrees of genome ploidy in the amphibian subfamily Xenopodinae." Immunogenetics.. 2014 Jun; 66(6):411-26. Epub 2014 Apr 27.
2014 May
Grayfer L, De Jesús Andino F, Robert J. "The amphibian (Xenopus laevis) type I interferon response to frog virus 3: new insight into ranavirus pathogenicity." Journal of virology.. 2014 May; 88(10):5766-77. Epub 2014 Mar 12.
2014 May
Cheng K, Escalon BL, Robert J, Chinchar VG, Garcia-Reyero N. "Differential transcription of fathead minnow immune-related genes following infection with frog virus 3, an emerging pathogen of ectothermic vertebrates." Virology.. 2014 May; 456-457:77-86. Epub 2014 Apr 01.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Microbiology and Immunology (SMD) - Primary

Education

PhD | Developmental Biology | Switzerland-Fac Sciences U Geneva1990
BA | Biology | Switzerland-Fac Sciences U Geneva1985

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Senior postdoctoral fellow, Department of Microbiology and Immunology University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry 1997
Postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Louis Du Pasquier & Member of the Basel Institute for Immunology. 1994
Postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Louis Du Pasquier & Member of the Basel Institute for Immunology. 1995
Teaching Assistant in Genetics, Cytogenetics and Embryology in the Department of Animal Biology University of Geneva. 1990
Predoctoral fellow with Dr. Hans Rudi Kobel, University of Geneva, Department of Animal Biology 1990