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In his 40 years at UNC-Chapel Hill, the late Ken Jacobson impacted his field and peers

Drawn portrait of Ken Jacobson

In his 40 years at UNC-Chapel Hill, the late Ken Jacobson impacted his field and peers

Before you exit Eric Vitriol’s office at Augusta University, a sign on the back of his door gives the last goodbye. It shows an older gentleman with white curly hair and a quirky half-smile. The text along the image reads: “Have you been a Ken Jacobson today?”

“That means, have you treated people with dignity and respect? Have you really promoted other people’s careers?” Vitriol shared.

Ken Jacobson was the Kenan Distinguished Professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology within the UNC School of Medicine, and pioneered and passed away on February 7, 2022.

Vitriol was one of several scientists who spoke at his virtual memorial this past May. Each person who spoke used different words to convey the same message: Ken Jacobson was an incredibly kind, supportive, and humble person.

Jacobson, who came to Carolina in 1980, created new microscopy methods and led the way in applying multiple techniques at the same time to make new discoveries in the field of cell migration.

When you ask Jacobson’s closest colleagues about his biggest accomplishments, they rapid-fire a list of acronyms: FRAP, TFM, CALI, SPT — abbreviations for various microscope techniques. It’s obvious that Jacobson was a whiz.

Learn more about Ken Jacobson’s legacy and impact at Carolina…Opens in new window

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