Jacob joined Flagship Pioneering in 2015 after completing the VentureLabs Fellows program. At Flagship, Jacob works as part of a venture-creation team, conducting explorations into innovative ideas and promising technologies. He develops the science, intellectual property, and business strategy that form the foundation of breakthrough startups.
Before joining Flagship, Jacob earned his Ph.D. in microbiology at MIT. Working in the lab of Professor Timothy Lu, Jacob co-invented the first analog synthetic biology circuits — living cells that can perform mathematical operations such as addition and division. Jacob also invented the first mixed-signal synthetic biology circuits, which convert analog information into digital information. His work resulted in multiple pending patents and academic publications, including an article in the journal Nature.
In working with Dr. Lu and a team of graduate students, Jacob founded a company to create an ingestible pill to measure biomarkers in the gut and transmit the information to mobile devices. The project was awarded a grant by the MIT Desphande Center for Technological Innovation. While a graduate student, Jacob also earned a Healthcare Certificate from the MIT Sloan School of Management and taught a semester-long bioengineering course to Boston-area high school students in MIT’s SEED Academy for three years. His graduate studies were supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award and a Shell MIT Energy Initiative Fellowship.
Jacob received his B.A. in molecular biology and biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis. During his undergraduate work, Jacob researched microbial photosynthesis with Dr. Robert Blankenship and invented a synthetic genetic regulation system to improve photosynthetic bioreactor productivity.