Columbia Engineering Mourns the Loss of Christopher Rae Jacobs, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Jul 06 2018

Christopher Rae Jacobs, Ph.D., died Sunday at 6:30 a.m. in his home in Harlem after a long battle with cancer. Born in Buffalo, NY in 1965, Jacobs was a beloved professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University since 2008 and a leader in the field of biomechanics, widely recognized for his seminal research in bone cellular mechanotransduction and computational biomechanics. In addition to teaching and research, he was also an author, lecturer, and avid outdoorsman who loved to golf, ski, hike and climb mountains.

The author of many papers, Jacobs recently co-authored an acclaimed text book, “Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology,” with Hayden Huang and Ronald Y. Kwon. As director of the Cell and Molecular Biomechanics Lab at Columbia, his research aided in developing new therapies for age-related bone loss and osteoporosis. Prior to Columbia, Jacobs taught at Stanford University and at Penn State University.

Jacobs was awarded a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University in 1994; an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford in 1989, and a BS in Systems Science and Mathematics at Washington University in 1988. Among his honors, he won the prestigious Van C. Mow Medal in bioengineering and the Richard Skalak Award for best paper in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering with Julia Chen.

His father, Rae Rodney Jacobs, MD, (deceased) was an orthopedic surgeon and his mother, Roberta Mae Gilbert Douglass, MD, 83, is a psychiatrist and author of five books. Jacobs is survived by his wife, Claire M. Julian; his mother; a brother, Gregory Jacobs; and other relatives. His wife Claire gave birth to their daughter and first child, Rae Christina, on July 3, 2018. A memorial service will be held in several weeks.