Associate Professor (as of July 1, 2014) & Member, Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory
Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science Department
4-002E Li Ka Shing (LKS) Centre for Health Research Innovation
(780) 492-9270 (fax)
Dr. René Jacobs was trained in biochemistry and molecular biology at both the Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Alberta. In 2009, He was appointed to the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta. Dr. Jacobs’ research program incorporates “state of the science” in vivo techniques, biochemical analysis and nutrigenomics as part of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach seeking to understand the complex interactions involved in the etiology of obesity, T2DM and other chronic diseases. The specific areas of focus for his research program are:
A. Study the role of the vagus nerve in regulating hepatic lipid metabolism and whole-body energy metabolism.
B. Investigate the role of micronutrients (folate, cobolamin and choline) in the development of obesity and insulin resistance.
C. Determine the importance of phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis in chylomicron secretion.
Current Series of Projects
Research Contributions and Publications:
1. Studies conducted during my PhD were the first to explain why plasma homocysteine metabolism is altered in Type 1 diabetes mellitus.
2. Studies conducted during my postdoctoral training were the first to show that physiological regulation of phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT) alters homocysteine metabolism in mice. This work resulted in the novel idea that PEMT is an important consuming of methyl groups in humans.
3. As part of my postdoctoral training, we provided novel evidence showing that plasma HDL and LDL is directly proporational to hepatic CTP:phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase-α activity.
4. As a Research Associate, I provided a mechanism to explain why PEMT knockout mice are protected from diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Data from these studies are the first to link de novo choline synthesis to altered whole-body energy metabolism.