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Jacques Robert, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Appointment: (585) 276-3000

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments

Biography

Research

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).

Credentials

Education

1985
BA | Switzerland-Fac Sciences U Geneva
Biology

1990
PhD | Switzerland-Fac Sciences U Geneva
Developmental Biology

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

1995 - 1997
Senior postdoctoral fellow, Department of Microbiology and Immunology University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

1993 - 1994
Postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Louis Du Pasquier & Member of the Basel Institute for Immunology.

1990 - 1995
Postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Louis Du Pasquier & Member of the Basel Institute for Immunology.

01/1985 - 1990
Teaching Assistant in Genetics, Cytogenetics and Embryology in the Department of Animal Biology University of Geneva.

1985 - 1990
Predoctoral fellow with Dr. Hans Rudi Kobel, University of Geneva, Department of Animal Biology

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Awards

2014
Alumni Award Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring
Sponsor: University of Rochester Medical Center

2013
Excellence in Research
Sponsor: University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester

2011
Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Education of the University of Rochester Medical Center
Sponsor: Graduate Education of the University of Rochester Medical Center

2009 - 2010
Provost's multidsciplinary award
Location: University of Rochester

2007
Excellence in Research Award
Location: University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester

2001
Travel award
Sponsor: AAI
Location: 11th International Congress of Immunology, Stockholm, Sweden

2000
Travel award
Sponsor: International Society of Developmental and Comparative Immunolog
Location: 8th ISDCI Congress, Cairns, Australia

1990
Cum laude graduate
Sponsor: University of Geneva
Location: Department of Animal Biology, (Switzerland)

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Publications

Journal Articles

10/2018
Jiang N, Fan Y, Zhou Y, Liu W, Robert J, Zeng L. "Rag1 and rag2 gene expressions identify lymphopoietic tissues in juvenile and adult Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus)." Developmental and comparative immunology.. 2018 Oct 0; 87:24-35. Epub 2018 May 22.

8/13/2018
Rollins-Smith LA, Robert J. "Lymphocyte Deficiency Induced by Sublethal Irradiation in ." Cold Spring Harbor protocols.. 2018 Aug 13; Epub 2018 Aug 13.

7/11/2018
Robert J, McGuire CC, Kim F, Nagel SC, Price SJ, Lawrence BP, De Jesús Andino F. "Water contaminants associated with unconventional oil and gas extraction cause immunotoxicity to amphibian tadpoles." Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology.. 2018 Jul 11; Epub 2018 Jul 11.

Books & Chapters

2018
Chapter Title: An ancestral immune surveillance system in the amphibian Xenopus connecting certain heat shock proteins with classical and nonclassical MHC class I molecules
Book Title: Heat Shock Proteins in the Immune System
Author List: Robert J. Banach M., and Edholm E
Edited By: PK. Srivastava and R. Binder
Published By: Springer Nature2018 in eBook

2017
Chapter Title: Evolutionary perspective of tumorigenesis and anti-tumor immunity provided by comparative studies in the amphibian Xenopus
Book Title: Ecology and Evolution of Cancer
Author List: Robert J. De Jesús Andino F., Banach M., Park J., Edholm E.
Edited By: B. Ujvari, B. Roche and F. Thomas
Published By: Elsevier, Acad Press2017 in London

2017
Chapter Title: Evolutionary aspects of Macrophages polarization
Book Title: Macrophages - origin, functions and biointervention
Author List: Edholm E., Kun Hyoe Rhoo, and Robert J.
Edited By: Jacek Z. Kubiak and Malgorzata Kloc,
Published By: Springer Nature2017 in eBook

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