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.