Dr Simon W Jones PhD, BSc

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Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Senior Lecturer in Musculoskeletal Ageing Research

Contact details

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
MRC-ARUK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2WB

Dr Jones is a Senior Lecturer at the MRC-ARUK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research. His research interests include the inflammatory and metabolic mechanisms that drive osteoarthritis pathology, the role of skeletal muscle dysfunction and atrophy in chronic disease and understanding the functional role of non-coding RNAs in mediating inflammatory responses.


  • PhD in Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham (1999)
  • PGCE in secondary education, University of Nottingham (1995)
  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry, University of Nottingham (1994)


Dr Simon Jones graduated from the University of Nottingham (BSc Hons Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry 1994) and obtained a PhD in Biochemistry in 1999 (University of Nottingham) where he investigated the expression and function of calpain proteases in skeletal muscle atrophy. He then joined Prof Paul Greenhaff’s group in the School of Biomedical Sciences, Queens Medical Centre Nottingham, where he spent 4 years as a Postdoctoral Fellow in integrated human molecular physiology. Here he investigated the effect of human disuse atrophy and exercise rehabilitation on muscle mass and function and on the expression of genes that mediate muscle mass.

In 2003 he joined AstraZeneca’s osteoarthritis drug discovery team as a Senior Research Scientist to lead their target identification and target validation activities. During this time he investigated the role of the chemokine receptors and MAP kinases in mediating cartilage and bone remodeling and more recently the role of skeletal muscle dysfunction and adipose-secreted cytokines.

He is also research active in the field of RNA interference and has previously characterized and developed cell penetrating peptide tools aimed at in vitro and in vivo delivery of siRNA. Having worked on siRNA-mediated RNA interference, in 2006 he began to examine the role of the recently discovered microRNA family of non-coding RNAs in osteoarthritis. During this time he made an important contribution to the area of non-coding RNAs including being the first to report the expression profile of microRNAs in human osteoarthritis cartilage and bone tissue and to demonstrate that modulation of miRNA activity can mediate the production of inflammatory cytokines and catabolic proteases in human OA chondrocytes.

Before joining the University of Birmingham he spent 2 years as a Research Laboratory Head at Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (Vienna), where he was team leader for identifying and validating novel antibody druggable targets for cancer. Here he also expanded his interest from miRNAs into examining the role of other non-coding RNAs including lincRNAs in tumour biology and utilized next generation sequencing data to identify potential drug targets and appropriate patient populations to enable a personalised medicine approach.


  • MSc Musculoskeletal Ageing (Co-Director)
    • Musculoskeletal Systems Across The Lifespan (Module Lead & Lecturer)
  • SciPhy (EPSRC)
    • Rebuilding The Ageing & Diseased Body (Sub-Module Lead & Lecturer)

Postgraduate supervision

  • Ashleigh Philp PhD (Sept 2013-present)
  • Mary O’Leary PhD (Sept 2014-present)
  • Megan Cooke PhD (Sept 2015-present)
  • Tom Nicholson PhD (Nov 2015-present)
  • Dr Mark Pearson PDRA (May 2014-present)


  • The functional role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in mediating joint inflammation in osteoarthritis (in collaboration with Prof Mark Lindsay, University of Bath)
  • Adiposity and skeletal muscle growth and differentiation: understanding sarcopenic obesity (in collaboration with Dr Kostas Tsintzas, University of Nottingham)
  • Development and characterisation of novel biomimetic scaffolds for cartilage and bone repair (in collaboration with Prof Liam Grover, University of Birmingham)
  • The role of adipose-secreted cytokines in mediating osteoarthritis joint pathology.
  • Understanding the cross-talk between muscle and adipose tissue and its impact on insulin signalling (in collaboration with MedImmune/AstraZeneca)

Other activities

  • OARSI Member
  • Associate Editor: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • MRC Confidence In Concept: Review Panel member


Pearson MJ, Philp AM, Heward JA, Roux BT, Walsh DA, Davis ET, Lindsay MA and Jones SW (2015) Long intergenic non-coding (linc)RNAs mediate the chondrocyte inflammatory response and are differentially expressed in osteoarthritis cartilage. Arthritis & Rheumatology [Epub ahead of print]

Newton Ede MM and Jones SW (2016) Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: evidence for intrinsic factors driving aetiology and progression. International Orthopaedics. International Orthopaedics [Epub ahead of print]

Newton Ede MP, Philp AM, Philp A, Mohammad S, Richardson S and Jones SW (2015) Povidone-Iodine (PVI) has a profound effect on in vitro osteoblast proliferation and metabolic function and inhibits their ability to mineralise and form bone. Spine [Epub ahead of print]

Tonge DP, Pearson MJ and Jones SW (2014) The hallmarks of osteoarthritis and the opportunity to develop personalised pharmacological disease modifying therapeutics. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 22(5):609-21

Chang J, Jackson SG, Wardale J and Jones SW (2014) Hypoxia modulates the phenotype of osteoblasts isolated from knee osteoarthritis patients, leading to undermineralised bone nodule formation. Arthritis & Rheumatology 66(7):1789-99

Tonge DP, Bardsley RG, Parr T, Maciewicz RM and Jones SW (2013) Evidence of changes to skeletal muscle contractile properties during the initiation of disease in the ageing guinea pig model of osteoarthritisLongevity & Healthspan 2(1):15

Berry PA, Jones SW, Cicuttini FM, Wluka AE and Maciewicz RA (2011) Temporal relationship between serum adipokines, biomarkers of bone and cartilage turnover, and cartilage volume loss in a population with clinical knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism 63(3):700-7

Tonge D, Jones SW, Parr T, Bardsley R, Doherty M and Maciewicz RA (2010) Beta2-adrenergic agonist-inducted hypertrophy of the quadriceps skeletal muscle does not modulate disease severity in the rodent meniscectomy model of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 18(4):555-62