Paul J. Jackson

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Paul J. Jackson

  • Affiliate


Paul Jackson received his Bachelor's of Science degree from the University of Washington in Cellular Biology and his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Molecular Biology. He was a visiting scholar at CISAC from September 2011-September 2012 and is now an affiliate. 

For the past 27 years he has been studying bacterial pathogens, first working to develop DNA-based methods of detecting these microbes and their remnants in environmental and laboratory samples, then developing methods to differentiate among different strains of the same pathogenic species. Research interests include the study of different methods of interrogating biological and environmental samples for detection and characterization of content, and development of bioforensic tools that provide detailed information about biothreat isolates including full interrogation of samples for strain content and other genetic traits.

Methods he developed have been applied to forensic analysis of samples and aid in identifying the source of disease outbreaks. He contributed to analysis of the Bacillus anthracis present in the 2001 Amerithrax letters and conducted detailed analyses of human tissue samples preserved from the 1979 Sverdlovsk anthrax outbreak, providing evidence that was inconsistent with Soviet government claims of consumption of contaminated meat.

His current work continues to focus on development of assays that rapidly detect specific signatures including antibiotic resistance in threat agents and other pathogens. More recent activities include identification and characterization of new antimicrobial compounds that are based on the pathogens' own genes and the products they encode. These include development of such materials as therapeutic antimicrobials, and their application to remediate high value contaminated sites and materials. Efforts to address issues of antibiotic resistance and treatment of resistant organisms have recently been expanded to look at non-threat agent pathogens that cause problematic nosocomial or community-acquired infections of particular interest to the military. A U.S. patent addressing this work has been issued.

Paul spent 24 years as a Technical Staff Member at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was heavily involved in development of the biological threat reduction efforts there. He was appointed a Laboratory Fellow at Los Alamos in recognition of his efforts.  He moved to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2005 where he was a Senior Scientist in the Global Security and Physical and Life Sciences Directorates until his retirement in 2013. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies where he teaches a class on biosecurity, biowarfare and bioterrorism. In addition to his work at the National Laboratories, he has served on the FBI's Scientific Working Group for Microbial Forensics, on NIH study sections and review panels, and continues to serve on steering and oversight committees for other federal agencies.

In recent years Paul has focused on infectious diseases and their impact on populations, government institutions and policies and the economy.  Since 2011 he has taught a graduate level class at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey that addresses these topics.