Merged department ‘maps’ future course


Allan Jacobson, PhD


The merger of two academic departments will invigorate its faculty and complement its educational and research focus, as the new Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems (MaPS) is officially constituted, according to Terence R. Flotte, MD, executive vice chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine.

“The new name reflects the merged department’s intent to provide a new complementary focus on the systems biology of infectious disease,” said Dr. Flotte, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor in Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular genetics and microbiology. “This focus will build on the expertise of faculty across the department and complement our institution’s growth in translational research.”

As announced in July, the new department will be chaired by Allan Jacobson, PhD, previously chair of molecular genetics & microbiology, which, with the former Department of Physiology, makes up the new department. “I applaud Dr. Jacobson’s leadership through this transition and am confident MaPS will flourish under his capable and enthusiastic chairmanship. Please join me in congratulating the MaPS faculty, administrators and staff on their new identity,” said Flotte.

“The new departmental focus will expand the former efforts of the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology in bacterial and viral pathogenesis to an understanding of pathogen effects in target organs and organ systems, and will redirect the former physiology department’s focus on organ physiology to that occurring in infected individuals and model systems,” explained Dr. Jacobson, professor of molecular genetics & microbiology. “The multidisciplinary systems approach will integrate genomic, proteomic, high resolution imaging and computational methodologies to establish the networks of pathogen/host interactions at the molecular level, as well as their differences from the set of interactions that define normal physiology in the respective organ systems.”

Jacobson has been with UMMS since 1973, and was appointed chair of molecular genetics & microbiology in 1994. In addition to his contributions as department chair and a senior leader of the campus, he has been an active scientist, with an internationally recognized research program on the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. 

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