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Jonathan Jacobs

TPS Faculty Jonathan Jacobs

Jonathan Jacobs

Department of Plant Pathology


201 Kottman Hall
2021 Coffey Road
Columbus, OH

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Areas of Expertise

  • Plant-bacterial interactions
  • Bacterial virulence mechanisms
  • Plant and microbial microscopy


  • PhD Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • BS Bacteriology, Genetics and Spanish, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Plant diseases have important economic consequences for agriculture and ultimately humanity’s food sources. Dr. Jonathan M. Jacobs is a plant pathologist interested the basic and applied biology of plant-associated microbes that cause diseases on plants. He graduated with a B.S. (triple major in Bacteriology, Genetics and Spanish) and Ph.D. (Major: Plant Pathology, Minor: Microbiology) from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. For his postdoctoral research, Dr. Jacobs was a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier, France and a USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow at Colorado State University. He also received a Fulbright Scholar Award to perform research at the Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium. He recently joined Ohio State as an Assistant Professor of Emerging Infectious Disease Ecology in the Department of Plant Pathology. The long-term goal of Dr. Jacobs' lab is to improve global food security through research, education and mentorship by developing and communicating useful scientific knowledge of important plant disease problems in agriculture. 

His team overall investigates the biological and evolutionary basis for microbial colonization of plants. The factors that contribute to pathogen evolution for niche-specific behavior remain unclear. His team is focused on understanding how pathogenic bacteria evolve and adapt to colonize different plant tissues. Their research uses novel, high-throughput technologies to determine the basis of tissue-specific behaviors in and host colonization by plant pathogenic bacteria. His group is interested in using novel imaging approaches to visualize plant pathogenesis at a molecular with laser confocal microscopy and whole-plant level with time lapse photography (see time lapse video: https://youtu.be/KWyw52jgWew).