I graduated from the University of Chicago with honors in psychology before completing an MD/PhD program in Neurobiology. I went to UCLA for general psychiatry training and completed an extended clinical-research child fellowship at UIC. I am board certified in general adult as well as child & adolescent psychiatry. I also serve as the Chief Medical and Sciences Officer for Fraser as they integrate biomedical services and become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic.
My primary focus as a scientist and clinician is to advance our understanding of neurodevelopment. These efforts build on my PhD work in neuroscience investigating the biological mechanisms underlying social behaviors and interactions. My current research focuses on novel and data-driven approaches to elucidate developmental trajectories. I co-lead the CANlab (Converging Approaches to Neurodevelopment) with Dr. Christine Conelea. My team investigates biobehavioral differences that predict dimensional outcomes or categorical psychiatric disorders; this includes testing new measures and using alternative statistical and machine learning analyses to delineate developmental risk profiles and to follow lifespan mental health outcomes. I have also studied biopsychosocial modulators (e.g., neurohormones) and reproductive physiology during the critical pre-/post-pubertal stage in development. After post-doctoral and clinical training, I ran an independent research wet lab and subsequently led a clinical research lab. Large genetic/phenotypic studies and multisite clinical trials have increased our knowledge through national collaborations. My clinical experience and interest in using new technologies have honed my expertise in transdiagnostic research by leveraging our ability to quickly access data from large communities.
- Autism spectrum disorder
(for academic support only)
In the Media
- 2023: Featured in this Medical School article titled, “SPARK Autism Study: A Family Perspective.”
- 2023: Featured in this article in the U’s Discovery magazine titled, “Heads Together,” about their collaboration to help kids with neurodevelopmental disorders.
- 2022: Featured in this article titled, “Common themes emerge as members of the department think about Women in Medicine Month”.
- 2022: Featured in this article titled, "CAN Lab’s FIND Network actively seeking input during April from the ASD and NDD community".
Dr. Jacob's research interests include social neuroscience, neuroendocrinology, and genetics. Her current research focuses on biomarkers, neurochemical/genetic risk, and treatments related to hormonal systems like oxytocin.
Dr. Jacob's clinical specialties include developmental disorders that affect rigid, inflexible behaviors and social functioning including autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, and selective mutism. She also focuses interest on treatment modalities including group, family, and individual cognitive behavioral therapy along with medication management.