Professor Simon Jones

Professor Simon Jones

Research Theme Lead - Infection, Inflammation & Immunity

School of Medicine

+44 (0)29 2068 7325
Tenovus Institute
Media commentator

I am the Professor of Inflammation Biology in The School of Medicine at Cardiff University. I am also currently Deputy Director of the Division of Infection & Immunity and is the College Research Theme Lead for Immunology, Infection and Inflammation in the College of Biomedical & Life Sciences. As a member of the Systems Immunity University Research Instutitute, I am also lead for Inflammation.

I am a leading inflammation researcher and Arthritis Research UK Programme Grant holder at Cardiff University. With a primary interest in inflammatory cytokines I aim to understand the mechanisms that affect the balance between competent host immunity and inflammation-induced tissue injury, and how the cytokine network shapes the course of disease in patients.

Since 1999, my laboratory has focused on the biology of cytokines that trigger responses through the latent transcription factors Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (STAT)-1 and STAT3. My work on the cytokines interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, IL-27 and interferon (IFN)-g explain how cytokine networks established as a response to infection, trauma or injury combine to promote protective immunity or drive transition to pathological immunity. Publications in The Journal of Experimental Medicine (Jones et al., 1999), Immunity (Hurst et al., 2001), The Journal of Clinical Investigation (McLoughlin et al., 2003) and PNAS (McLoughlin et al., 2005) were amongst the first to report the physiological importance of IL-6 acting through its soluble receptor (termed IL-6 trans-signaling) in disease. This required development of novel in vivo approaches and the application of soluble gp130 as the natural inhibitor of IL-6 trans-signaling. Specifically, my studies in inflammatory arthritis have supported the translational development of soluble gp130 as a therapeutic modality (FE999301 – in clinical trials with Ferring Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of human disease (Nowell, et al., 2003, 2009). These observations also explain therapeutic action of other IL-6-directed biological drugs (e.g., tocilizumab, olokizumab, sarilumab and sirukumab), which are in late stage clinical development or routine clinical practice. I am a leading expert in this area as evidence by a series of high-profile review articles on this subject (e.g., Hunter & Jones, Nature Immunology 16:448 2015; Jones et al., Journal of Clinical Investigation 121:3375 2011), and I am included on various advisory boards for pharmaceutical companies.

More recently, I have explored the signaling cassette responsible for the cytokine control of disease progression. For example, studies published in The Journal of Immunology (Nowell et al., 2009; Jones et al., 2010), Annals of Rheumatic Disease (Jones et al., 2013) and Immunity (Fielding et al., 2014) describe how changes in the relative activation of STAT1 or STAT3 elicit profound differences in disease outcome. This research has an immediate impact on patient stratification and clinical decisions relating to the best course of therapy. For example, my recent publication in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (Jones et al., 2015) describes a mechanism that accounts for the development of a type of rheumatoid arthritis that is both severe in nature and challenging to treat. My research is therefore contributing to improvements in patient diagnosis, stratification and treatment decisions.

Honours and awards

The 2004 Bolzmann Award -  Awarded to Dr. S.A. Jones & Professor S. Rose-John. The award is presented by the International Cytokine Society (ICS) and the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research (ISICR) to a pair of scientists who are considered to have made an important contribution to cytokine biology.

Fellow of The Royal Society of Biology (June 2015)

Health & Care Research Wales- Faculty Research Lead

Professional memberships

Grant panel membership

  • Royal Irish Academy Early Entry Grant Panel- 2008
  • Arthritis Research UK Research Sub-Committee- 2011- 2018 (Deputy Chair; 2015- 2018)
  • Arthritis Research UK Programme Grant Outline Committee- 2015 - 2018
  • Arthritis Research UK USER Committee (Lay persons panel)- 2015 - 2018
  • Health & Care Research Wales- Health Grants Committee Member- Oct 2012 (onwards)
  • Health & Care Research Wales- Research for patient and public benefit Wales Panel (Deputy Chair)- Jan 2013 (onwards)
  • Health & Care Research Wales- Health Fellowships Committee Member- June 2014 (onwards)
  • Sêr Cymru II – College of Experts for the Independent Evaluation Panel- 2015 -2018
  • Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG)/Health Research Board, Ireland – Joint Select funding Committee (2016)

Editorial board membership

  • Journal of Biological Chemistry (Editorial Board Member – Immunology)
  • Frontiers in Immunology (Pro-inflammatory Cytokines)
  • The Open Rheumatology Journal (Bentham Science Publishers)

Research advisory consultant

  • Welsh Higher Education Brussels (WHEB) Board
  • Roche- Panel Member for Acetmra Translational Research Board
  • Genentech
  • Glaxo-Smith-Kline
  • Eleven Biotherapeutics
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Chugai Pharmaceuticals
  • NovImmune AG
  • Ferring Pharmaceuticals
  • Regeneron/Sanofi

Society memberships

  • The Biochemical Society (Theme Panel Member; 2008-2013)
  • International Cytokine and Interferon Society
  • The Royal Society of Biology

Previous academic positions

  • May 2015 Deputy Director, Division of Infection & Immunity, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK
  • Mar 2015 College Theme Lead for Infection, Immunology & Inflammation College of Biomedical & Life Sciences, Cardiff University, UK
  • Jun 2012-May 2015 Associate Director of Research for Infection & Immunity Institute for Infection & Immunity, The School of Medicine
  • Aug 2008 Professor of Inflammation Biology School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK
  • Jan 2005‑ Jul 2008 Reader School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK
  • Jan 2004‑ Dec 2004 Reader Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, UK
  • Sept 2003- Jan 2004 Senior Lecturer Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, UK
  • Jan 1999- Sept 2003 Lecturer Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, UK
  • Jul 1996- Dec 1998 American Heart Association Research Fellow Dept. of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Jan 1994- Jun 1996 Swiss Foundation Research Fellow Theodor Kocher Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland

Speaking engagements

  • International Congress of Immunology (Aug ’16) – Invited speaker, Melbourne, Australia
  • European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR):Janssen RAISE EULAR satellite symposium (June 2016) – Invited speaker
  • Keystone Conference- Cytokine Jak-STAT signalling in immunity & disease (Jan ’16) – Invited speaker, Colorado, USA
  • 12th European peritoneal dialysis meeting (Oct ’15) – Invited speaker, Krakow, Poland
  • 14th Scleroderma Research Workshop (Aug ’15) – Invited speaker, Cambridge, UK
  • Hudson Biomedical Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia (June ’15) – Invited speaker.
  • International Cytokine & Interferon Society (Oct ‘14)- Invited plenary speaker, Melbourne, Australia
  • British Society for Rheumatology (April ‘14)- Invited plenary speaker, Liverpool, UK
  • American College of Rheumatology(Oct ‘13)- Keynote plenary speaker, San Diego, USA
  • Keystone Conference- Biology of Cytokines & Th17 Cells in Health & Disease (Feb ’12), Colorado, USA
  • European League Against Rheumatism:Roche sponsored satellite meeting(Jun ’12)- Berlin, Germany.
  • American College of Rheumatology: Roche sponsored satellite meeting (Nov ’11)- Chicago, USA
  • University of Pennsylvania, USA, Department of Veterinary Pathology – Invited Speaker (Oct ’11)
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA, Department of Pathology – Invited Speaker (Oct ’11)
  • German Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (Oct ’07)- Plenary speaker, Hamburg, Germany
  • Australian Society for Medical Research (Sept ’06)- Invited plenary speaker, Melbourne, Australia

Specialist areas