Thomas Jacobs Lab

Research focus

​The primary interest of the lab is genome editing of plant genomes (knock-in, -out, transcriptional control, etc.). The lab is focused on the use of CRISPR/Cas given its simple design and ever increasing number of techniques. Current, and future, CRISPR/Cas systems offer a wide range of genome editing capabilities for the investigation and improvement of plant systems. To enable the use of this technology within VIB and beyond, there are two avenues of research in the lab: First, is the curation of a collection of genome editing (CRISPR) reagents and protocols for use at VIB. Second, is the optimization and development of plant genome editing.

CRISPR technology is a dynamic area of research and new tools are developed rapidly. Progress is so rapid that it can be difficult for any single research group to stay up to date. Therefore, the lab curates a collection of genome editing reagents and protocols and these materials can be provided as an easy-to-use CRISPR kit. CRISPR reagents are integrated into a standard set of vector systems that are compatible with the plant species under investigation at Plant Systems Biology. New technologies will be integrated into the kit as they are developed.

While CRISPR systems are generally effective, there can be a wide range of gene-editing efficiencies, depending on the plant species and/or method of delivery. The lab is focused on increasing gene editing frequencies and improving recovery of useful, gene-edited plants. This is achieved by optimizing protocols, vector sequences, or classical genetic approaches.

As this is a recently-formed research group, be sure to check back for new protocols and resources as they are made available.


Simple gene silencing using the trans-acting siRNA pathwayJacobs T, Lawler N, Lafayette P, Vodkin L, Parrott WPLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY JOURNAL, 14, 117-27, 2016
Targeted genome modifications in soybean with CRISPR/Cas9Jacobs T, Lafayette P, Schmitz R, Parrott WBMC BIOTECHNOLOGY, 15, 16, 2015

Job openings


BioXp™ Genomic Workstation Makes European Debut at VIB Research Institute in Belgium

22/08/2017 - SGI-DNA Inc., a Synthetic Genomics Inc. company, and VIB today announced that VIB will become the first institute in Europe to integrate the BioXp™ 3200 System in its workflows as part of its vision for adopting breakthrough technologies.

Thomas Jacobs

Thomas Jacobs

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


PhD: Inst. of Plant Breeding Genetics and Genomics, Univ. of Georgia, USA, 2014
Postdoc: Boyce Thompson Inst., Ithaca, New York, USA, 2014-16
Expert Scientist since September 2016

Contact Info

VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems BiologyUGent-VIB Research Building FSVMTechnologiepark 927 9052 GENTRoute description