Peter A. Jones was born in Cape Town, raised and attended college in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and received his PhD from the University of London. He joined the University of Southern California in 1977 and served as director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center between 1993 and 2011.
He is currently the chief scientific officer of Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His laboratory discovered the effects of 5-azacytidine on cytosine methylation and he first established the link between DNA methylation, gene expression and differentiation. He pioneered the field of epigenetics, particularly its role in cancer, and helped develop novel therapies for cancer.
Dr. Jones is a past president of the American Association for Cancer Research, a Fellow of the AACR Academy, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
He has published more than 300 scientific papers and received several honors, including the Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Cancer Institute. He and his colleague Stephen Baylin, MD, shared the Kirk A. Landon Award for Basic Cancer Research from the AACR in 2009 and the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society in 2011.