Peter Jones, Ph.D.

  • Chair, Cancer Biology Peer Review Panel
    Chief Scientific Officer, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Research Focus

A pioneer in the field of epigenetics, Dr. Jones has uncovered basic mechanisms of DNA methylation and its role in cancer. He discovered that 5-azacytidine can induce changes in gene expression and act as a powerful DNA methylation inhibitor, which led to the isolation of the first mammalian determination gene and to the discovery of tumor suppressor genes that are epigenetically silenced in human cancer. The drug 5-azacytadine has been approved for use in treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome.

Dr. Jones’ collaborative research has led to delineating molecular pathways in the development of bladder cancer and to the realization that DNA methylation sites are hotspots for cancer-causing mutations and that epigenetic silencing plays a major role in carcinogenesis. He helped establish the International Human Epigenome consortium and co-directs a Stand-Up-to-Cancer dream team developing new cancer treatments.


University College of Rhodesia, B.Sc., Biochemistry
University of London, Ph.D., Biochemistry

Other Experience

Member, Cellular Biology and Physiology Study Section
Member, Cancer Center Support Review Committee, NCI
Member, Integration Panel, US Army Medical Research and Development Command Breast Cancer Research
Co-Chair, NCI Progress Review Group, Kidney and Bladder Cancers
President, American Association for Cancer Research

Selected Honors

Outstanding Investigator Grant, National Cancer Institute
Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at USC
Greenfield Lecturer, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Nakahara Memorial Lecture, Tokyo, Japan
Simon M. Shubitz Award, University of Chicago
Willet Whitmore Lecture, American Urological Association
Distinguished Speaker, American Society of Human Genetics
Firkin Oratory, Australian Society for Medical Research
William Wallace Scott Memorial Lecture, The Johns Hopkins University
Donald S. Coffey Lecture, Society for Basic Urologic Research
Oettlé Award, Cancer Association of South Africa
Workman Award, Samuel Waxman Foundation, New York, NY (shared with S. Baylin)
Kirk A. Landon Prize for Basic Cancer Research (shared with S. Baylin)
Meyenburg Lecturer, German Cancer Research Center
MERIT Award, National Cancer Institute
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Distinguished Service Award, University of Miami, Winter Symposium
American Cancer Society, Medal of Honor for Basic Research (shared with S. Baylin)
Lattimer Lecturer, American Urological Association
Fellow, American Association for Cancer Research Academy