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Jacques Robert, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Appointment: (585) 276-3000

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

Faculty Appointments

Education

1985
BA | Switzerland-Fac Sciences U Geneva
Biology

1990
PhD | Switzerland-Fac Sciences U Geneva
Developmental Biology

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

2017
Edholm ES, Rhoo KH, Robert J. "Evolutionary Aspects of Macrophages Polarization." Results and problems in cell differentiation.. 2017 62:3-22.

8/2016
Edholm ES, Banach M, Robert J. "Evolution of innate-like T cells and their selection by MHC class I-like molecules." Immunogenetics.. 2016 Aug 0; 68(8):525-36. Epub 2016 Jul 01.

7/6/2016
Robert J, Jancovich JK. "Recombinant Ranaviruses for Studying Evolution of Host-Pathogen Interactions in Ectothermic Vertebrates." Viruses. 2016 Jul 6; 8(7)Epub 2016 Jul 06.

Books & Chapters

2015
Chapter Title: Ranavirus host immunity and immune evasion. In Ranaviruses
Book Title: Ranaviruses: Lethal Pathogens of Ectothermic Vertebrates
Author List: Grayfer L., Edholm E., De Jesús Andino F., Chinchar V.G. and Robert J.
Edited By: M.J. Gray, VG Chinchar
Published By: Springer2015

2015
Chapter Title: The immune system of amphibians
Book Title: Encyclopedia of Immunobiology
Author List: Robert J
Published By: Elsevier2015

2011
Chapter Title: Comparative study of skin graft tolerance and rejection in the amphibian Xenopusc
Book Title: Skin Grafts
Author List: Nedelkovska H. and Robert, J.
Edited By: M. Spear
Published By: Intech2011 in Rijeka, Croatia

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