Ursula Jakob received her Ph.D. in the Department of Physical Biochemistry from the University of Regensburg in 1995 for her work on the identification and characterization of Hsp90 and small heat shock proteins as molecular chaperones.
She then moved to Michigan where she conducted a 5-year postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. James Bardwell. There, she discovered the heat shock protein Hsp33 as the first known redox-regulated chaperone. This work helped establish the field of redox-regulation in biology.
In 2000, she received the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award and started her independent research career at the University of Michigan one year later. She is now the Patricia S. Yaeger Collegiate Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Her main interest concerns the role of oxidative stress and redox regulation in aging and disease. She has received awards from the National Institute of Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). In 2014, she was elected to the Bavarian Academy of the Sciences and Humanities. In 2019, she received the Breakthrough in Gerontology Award.