Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc

Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc
Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc | Class of 2013

A pioneer in the field of epigenetics, Dr. Jones 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, 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 the Van Andel Research Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team, which aims to move promising combination therapies for cancer into clinical trials. 

Career Highlights

2017  Elected Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2017  Outstanding Investigator Award, National Cancer Institute

2016  Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences
2011  Medal of Honor, American Cancer Society
2010  Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2009  AACR-Kirk A. Landon Prize for Basic Cancer Research
2008  Oettle Award, Cancer Association of South Africa
2008  David Workman Memorial Award, Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation
2005-2006  President, AACR
2001  Simon M. Shubitz Award, University of Chicago Cancer Research Center
1999  Distinguished Professor, University of Southern California
1993-2011  Director, University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
1991-1994  Associate Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs, University of Southern California School of Medicine
1989-1992  Board of Directors, AACR
1983  D.Sc., University of Zimbabwe
1983  Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship, University of Southern California
1973  PhD, University of London