Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc Distinguished Professor of Urology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.
Professor Jones was born in South Africa, raised and attended college in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and received his Ph.D. from the University of London. He joined the University of Southern California in 1977, attaining the rank of Professor in 1985, Distinguished Professor in 1999, and was Director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center 1993-2011. Professor Jones is a pioneer in the now burgeoning field of “epigenetics”. His laboratory discovered the effects of the drug 5-azacytidine on the cell’s epigenetic code and linked this process to the re-activation of silenced genes. 5-azacytidine is now used to treat myelodysplatic syndrome and prevent it from developing into leukaemia. Professor Jones is internationally renowned for his discoveries of the basic mechanisms of epigenetics and the role they play in cancer development and cell differentiation. He is a past President of the American Association for Cancer Research. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and received several honors, including the Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Cancer Institute. He shared the prestigious 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 with Stephen Baylin.
In this public lecture, Professor Jones will discuss the revolution in the field of epigenomics and describe how the human genome is packaged so that different parts are used in different cells. He will also describe how epigenetics works to control normal development and how it can malfunction to contribute to human diseases such as cancer. Finally, he will describe international efforts to map the human epigenome and develop drugs to rectify disease states.