Elizabeth A. Jacobsen, Ph.D., is an expert in both mouse models of immune mechanisms of inflammation as well as eosinophil biology. Dr. Jacobsen, mentee and colleague of the late Mayo Clinic researcher James J. Lee, Ph.D., has identified eosinophils as immune regulatory cells that can be differentially activated to induce polarization of T cells and activate dendritic cells and macrophages in respiratory inflammation.
With her collaborators, Dr. Jacobsen has also found that eosinophils are immune regulating or diagnostic markers in homeostasis and conditions such as asthma, transplant, bladder cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
Dr. Jacobsen has expanded her novel findings described above to study several additional areas of research:
- Eosinophils as a biomarker of disease activity in asthma
- Classifying eosinophil subtypes and their contribution to disease activities
- Characterizing the role of eosinophils with other leukocytes in metabolic disorders
- Determining the role of corticosteroids on eosinophils and other leukocytes in inflammatory diseases and lung transplantation
Significance to patient care
Dr. Jacobsen's research in eosinophils aims to better understand the role of this evolutionarily conserved cell in regulation of immune responses in disease. The concept of this cell as more than a destructive mediator is an expanding field of basic science and medicine.
Because the FDA has approved several new biologics targeting eosinophils recently, understanding the importance of eosinophils as immune regulatory cells in health is critical. For example, eosinophils were recently shown to participate in a healthy intestinal microbiome, and their depletion may have unintended consequences.
Dr. Jacobsen's research has the potential to provide personalized diagnostics through phenotyping patients by their presence or function of eosinophils in disease processes.