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Jordan Jacobelli, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Immunology & Microbiology

1400 Jackson St., K501c
Denver, CO 80206
Phone: 303-398-1954

The ability of lymphocytes to migrate and localize within the body is critical to the function of the immune system and also plays a role in disease settings such as autoimmunity. My laboratory is interested in understanding how a network of proteins called the cytoskeleton regulates the migration and cell-cell interactions of lymphocytes. In particular we focus on how cytoskeletal molecules, such as the Formin and Ena/Vasp proteins, generate the mechanical forces and shape changes required for lymphocyte migration during homeostasis and disease. 

Currently, one of our research focuses is on a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, a chronic autoimmune-mediated disease of the central nervous system. Our work is aimed at understanding which specific cytoskeletal molecules play a role in lymphocyte exit from the blood flow and infiltration through the blood-brain barrier and entry into the Central Nervous System (CNS). Our long-term goal is to prevent the accumulation of autoreactive lymphocytes in the brain and spinal cord where they damage neurons.


A second focus of the lab is related to leukemia and lymphoma models. Our goal is to determine how cytoskeletal remodeling mediates the steps required for leukemia and lymphoma cell extravasation and infiltration into tissues with the goal of preventing or inhibiting metastasis of these types of tumors. This is particularly important since a significant number of leukemia and lymphoma patients relapse, with the relapse affecting organs such as the CNS. It has been proposed that tissues such as the CNS can act as ‘sanctuary’ sites that allow leukemia and lymphoma cells to escape treatments such as chemotherapy. Therefore, interventions that prevent leukemia and lymphoma dissemination can be valuable tools to increase the ability of combination therapies to achieve full remission or extend long-term survival of patients.

To address these questions my laboratory uses a combination of in vitro reductionist approaches and cutting-edge in vivo multi-photon microscopy. The in vitro systems allow us to study processes such as lymphocyte migration through the endothelial cells that form the walls of blood vessels in a setting that is amenable to experimental manipulation and high-resolution imaging of molecular dynamics. On the other hand, in vivo multi-photon microscopy enables us to characterize immune cell behavior within its physiological environment.









Jacobelli-Friedman Lab 2018
Back: Adam Sandor (Graduate Student), Jeff Chung (Graduate Student), Sucai Liu (Senior Lab Researcher), Orlando Castro (Lab Assistant), Jeremiah Phares (Undergraduate Student)
Middle: Jen Whitesell (Graduate Student), Rachel Friedman (Principle Investigator), Jordan Jacobelli (Principle Investigator), Katie Morgan (Lab Researcher), Kristen Dew (Lab Researcher), Jessica Olivas (Lab Researcher)
Front: Jen Cimons (Rotation Student), Scott Thompson (Graduate Student)

Jordan Jacobelli, PhD
Assistant Professor

Scott Thompson
Graduate Student, Immunology Program​

​Jeffery Chung
Graduate Student

​Monique Waldman
Graduate Student, Immunology Program

Kristen Dew
Lab Tech

​Katie Darr
Lab Tech
Lab Alums:
​​ Mira​ Estin

Graduate Student, MSTP/Immunology Program

Dr. Jordan Jacobelli runs a joint lab with Dr. Rachel Friedman.

Click here for a list of Dr. Jacobeilli's recent publications.


Thompson S.B., Wigton E.J., Krovi S.H., Chung J.W., Long R.A., Jacobelli J. ‘The Formin mDia1 regulates acute lymphoblastic leukemia engraftment, migration, and progression in vivo.’ Frontiers in Oncology. 2018

Dell’Aringa M., Reinhardt R.L., Friedman R.S., Jacobelli J. ‘Live imaging of IL-4 expressing T follicular helper cells in explanted lymph nodes.’ Methods in Molecular Biology. 2018 1799:225-235.

Estin M., Thompson S.B., Traxinger B., Fisher M.H., Friedman R.S., Jacobelli J. ‘Ena/VASP proteins regulate activated T cell trafficking by promoting diapedesis during transendothelial migration.’ PNAS. 2017 Mar 20. doi:10.1073/pnas.1701886114. 

Wigton E.J., Thompson S.B., Long R.A., Jacobelli J. ‘Myosin-IIA regulates leukemia engraftment and brain infiltration in a mouse model of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.’ Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2016 Jan 20. pii: jlb.1A0815-342R.

Jacobelli J., Lindsay R.S., Friedman R.S. ‘Peripheral tolerance and autoimmunity: Lessons from in vivo imaging.’ Immunologic Research. 2012 Sep 6.


Beemiller P.J., Jacobelli J., Krummel M.F. ‘Integration of the movement of signaling microclusters with cellular motility in immunological synapses.’ Nature Immunology. 2012. Aug; 13(8):787-95.


Friedman R.S., Beemiller P.J., Sorensen C.M., Jacobelli J., Krummel M.F. ‘Real-time analysis of T cell receptors in naive cells in vitro and in vivo reveals flexibility in synapse and signaling dynamics.’ Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2010. Nov 22;207(12):2733-49.


Jacobelli J., Friedman R.S., Conti M.A., Lennon-Dumenil A-M., Piel M., Sorensen C.M., Adelstein R.S., Krummel M.F. ‘Confinement-optimized three-dimensional T cell amoeboid motility is modulated via myosin IIA-regulated adhesions.’ Nature Immunology. 2010. Oct;11(10):953-61.


Jacobelli J., Bennett F.C., Pandurangi P., Tooley A., Krummel M.F. ‘Myosin-IIA and ICAM-1 regulate the interchange between two distinct modes of T cell migration.’ Journal of Immunology. 2009. Feb 15;182(4):2041-50.


Jacobelli J., Chmura S.A., Buxton D.B., Davis M.M., Krummel M.F. ‘A single class II myosin modulates T cell motility and stopping, but not synapse formation.’ Nature Immunology. 2004. May; 5(5):531-8.