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Simon Jones   PhD, BSc (Hons) FLSW MAE FRSB

Professor Simon Jones


Co-Director, Systems Immunity Research Institute

School of Medicine

+44 29206 87325
Sir Geraint Evans Cardiovascular Research Building, Floor Second Floor, Room 2F/02, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN
Media commentator


Simon Jones has made important contributions to the field of cytokine biology with translational impact on the clinic. His research elicited fundamental mechanisms whereby cytokines promote immune-mediated diseases. These include discoveries offering a persuasive explanation of rheumatoid arthritis heterogeneity upon exposure to biological drugs. He led the first studies describing the importance of interleukin-6 trans-signalling in inflammation, identifying the physiological regulation of this signalling pathway, and pioneering the inhibition of interleukin-6 trans-signalling by olamkicept. His work is cited highly in contemporary literature and includes publications in journals of repute (e.g., Nature Immunology, Immunity, and Journal of Experimental Medicine).

In recognition of this leadership, Jones was elected Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and Member of the Academia Europaea. He has generated over £25M in grant awards, including funding from UKRI, charities (e.g., Versus Arthritis, Wellcome Trust), and industry. He was Dean of Research for the School of Medicine at Cardiff (2017-2021) and was recently appointed Co-Director of the Systems Immunity Research Institute, where he leads Multimorbidity Research.

Jones is committed to mentorship. His post-doctoral researchers have transitioned to tenured appointments (1x Professor, 1x Assistant Professor, 2x Senior Lecturers, 2x Lecturer). Others secured independent fellowships (x4) or positions in industry (x3), medical writing (x2) and university administration (x1). His former PhD students remain in academic research.

Jones actively supports the scientific community, particularly advancing understanding between fundamental and clinical researchers. He serves on grant‑awarding panels and editorial boards and contributed to the launch of government and charity-led initiatives. Jones advises the pharmaceutical sector on cytokine-targeting therapies and communicates educational programmes for healthcare professionals on this topic. Recently, he chaired the organising committee for the 2021 International Cytokine & Interferon Society meeting.


























Book sections


Cytokines regulate functions essential for normal physiology. However, their actions also promote immune-mediated diseases and associated co-morbidities. Jones has contributed discoveries that reveal how cells sense and interpret cytokine cues to instruct inflammation and the transition to chronic disease. This knowledge explains how cytokines that signal via the Jak-STAT pathway promote disease heterogeneity in rheumatoid arthritis and treatment failure in renal patients on peritoneal dialysis. His research has informed clinical studies (NCT03235752) and drug development in the pharmaceutical sector. Jones has three interlinked programs supported by funding from UKRI, charities and industry collaborations:

1. Identifying inflammatory checkpoints instructing the transition from innate to adaptive immunity– Effective communication between infiltrating leukocytes and the stromal tissue ensures an appropriate control of innate and adaptive immunity and resolving inflammation. Jones identified the regulatory properties of the soluble interleukin (IL)-6 receptor (sIL-6R) in this process and established the importance of IL-6 trans-signalling in bridging innate and adaptive immunity. He generated the first in vivo evidence of IL-6 trans-signalling involvement in disease, identified the first physiological regulator of sIL-6R production and established how sIL-6R shedding from infiltrating neutrophils synchronises IL-6 responses between stromal tissues and infiltrating leukocytes (Jones et al., J. Experimental Medicine 1999; Hurst et al., Immunity 2001; Nowell et al., J. Immunology 2003; McLoughlin et al., PNAS 2005). These publications altered our understanding of how IL-6 therapies (e.g., tocilizumab) work in pathology and established olamkicept as a first-in-class biological drug that inhibits IL-6 trans-signalling (Hurst et al., Immunity 2001; Nowell et al., J. Immunology 2003, 2009).

2. Defining mechanisms that promote tissue injury and disease progression– Jones identified how recurrent infections compromise the cytokine control of tissue homeostasis to drive fibrosis (Fielding et al., Immunity 2014). He showed that alterations to the local cytokine network following repeated bouts of inflammation distort acute resolving inflammation and promote tissue re-modelling through increased STAT1 transcription factor activity (Jones et al., J. Immunology 2010; Fielding et al., Immunity 2014). Relating these findings to rheumatoid arthritis, Jones showed that STAT1 shapes the transcriptional output of STAT3 in synovitis and contributes to disease heterogeneity (Nowell et al., J. Immunology 2009; Jones et al., Annals Rheumatic Disease 2013; Twohig et al., Nature Immunology 2019). His studies of IL-27 biology emphasise the importance of this mechanism in establishing lymphoid-rich synovitis, where ectopic lymphoid-like structures promote severe disease (Jones et al., J. Experimental Medicine 2015). In collaboration with GSK, Jones is exploring ways to combat lymphoid-driven pathology based on IL-27 biology.

3. Establishing how cells sense and interpret cytokine cues– Intracellular signalling pathways are finely tuned to change the interpretation of cytokine cues. Investigating cytokine responses in CD4+ T-cells, Jones identified that protein tyrosine phosphatases alter the transcriptional output of IL-6 in memory or activated subsets by inhibiting STAT1 activity (Twohig et al., Nature Immunology 2019). This rheostat mechanism explains how immune cells produce context-dependent cytokine responses and provides a hypothesis for increased disease susceptibility in patients with genetic polymorphisms in protein tyrosine phosphatases.



  • Oct 1990- Dec 1993 Ph.D. (Biochemistry) Supervisors: Professor O.T.G. Jones (Department of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK) and Dr N. Topley (Institute of Renal Medicine, University of Wales, College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK)
  • Oct 1986- Jun 1990 B.Sc. Applied Biological Sciences (2.i Hons.) Bristol Polytechnic, Bristol, UK

Career Overview:

  • 2023: Co-Director, Hodge Centre for Translational Neuroscience
  • 2022: Co-Director, Systems Immunity Research Institute, The School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • 2017 - 2021: Dean of Research, The School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • 2015 - 2020: Theme Lead for Infection, Immunology & Inflammation, The College of Biomedical & Life Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2012 - 2017: Associate Director of Research, Division of Infection & Immunity, The School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • 2008 ‑ Professor of Inflammation Biology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • 2005 - 2008: Reader, School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • 2004 ‑ 2005: Reader, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University
  • 2003 - 2004: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University
  • 1999 - 2003: Lecturer, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University
  • 1996 -1998: American Heart Association Fellow, Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA (Director: Professor G.M. Fuller).
  • 1994 - 1996: Swiss Foundation Research Fellow, Theodor Kocher Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland (Director: Professor M. Baggiolini).

Honours and awards

Member of Academia Europaea (Elected August 2021)

Fellow of The Learned Society of Wales (Elected May 2019)

Fellow of The Royal Society of Biology (Elected June 2015)

Health & Care Research Wales Faculty Research Lead (Elected June 2014)

The 2004 Bolzmann Award Presented by the International Cytokine Society (ICS) and the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research (ISICR) for contributions to cytokine biology.

Professional memberships

Grant Panel Membership:

Medical Research Council (UKRI)          

Infection & Immunity Board (2020-25)

COVID-19 Agile Committee (2020-21)

Versus Arthritis.                                        

Research Sub-Committee (2011-16; Vice Chair 2015, 2016)

Programme Grant Outline Committee (2015, 2016)

USER Committee (Scientific Advisor, Lay Panel; 2015, 2016)

Versus Arthritis/Cancer Research UK Partnership Group (2018)

Disease Sub-Committee– (Vice Chair 2017-20)

Health & Care Research Wales.                        

Grants Committee Member (2012)

Research for Patient & Public Benefit (Deputy Chair; 2013-18)

Health Fellowships Committee (2014)

Health Research Board Ireland.           

Joint Medical Research Charities Committee (2016, 2018)

Investigator-Led Projects (Chair 2019, 2022)

Trials Methodology Research Network Review Panel (Chair 2021)

Royal Irish Academy.                           

Early Entry Grant Panel (2008)


Research Advisory Groups:


Welsh Higher Education Brussels (WHEB) Board– Development of European Funding for Welsh Universities

Cardiff Ambassador– Supporting commercial activities in Cardiff (e.g., industry links, conferences)

Pharmaceutical companies

Roche/Chugai– Panel Member for Actemra (tocilizumab) Translational Research Board (2008-2012)

Genentech– Translational Immunology Summit Advisory Board

Eleven Biotherapeutics– Clinical application of biologic drugs EBI-029 and EBI-031

EUSA Pharma– Use of Sirukumab in the treatment of cancer and associated co-morbidity.

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson & GSK)– The clinical application of Sirukumab.

NovImmune AG– Development of biological drugs NI-0101 and NI-1201

Ferring Pharmaceuticals– Clinical development of Olamkicept.

Regeneron/Sanofi– The clinical application of Sarilumab

Glaxo-Smith-Kline– Development of biological drugs against oncostatin-M and IL-27

Charity Sector

Versus Arthritis Senior Stakeholder Group–

Versus Arthritis Centre Strategy Review Committee (2019-2020)

Academy of Medical Sciences– Invited to research steering groups (‘Advancing research to tackle multimorbidity– the UK perspective’; ‘Multimorbidity: a priority for global health research’– 2018, 2019).


Editorial Board Membership:   

Journal of Biological Chemistry (Editorial Board Member– Immunology) (2015-2021)

Frontiers in Immunology (Pro-inflammatory Cytokines)

Function (linked to the American Society of Physiology)


Society Memberships:             

The Biochemical Society (Theme Panel V Member; 2008-2013)

International Cytokine and Interferon Society (Member of the Meeting Committee; 2017-2024, Member of the Development Committee; 2018-2022)

The Learned Society of Wales

Academia Europaea

Royal Society of Biology

Academic positions

  • Apr 2021- to present. Co-Director, Systems Immunity Research Institute, Cardiff University, UK
  • Apr 2017- Mar 2021. Dean of Research, The School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • Mar 2015‑ Sept 2020. College Theme Lead for Infection, Immunology & Inflammation, College of Biomedical & Life Sciences, Cardiff University.
  • May 2015- Mar 2017. Deputy Director, Division of Infection & Immunity, The School of Medicine
  • Jun 2012-May 2015 Associate Director of Research for Infection & Immunity Institute for Infection & Immunity, The School of Medicine
  • 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

Examples of invited conference lectures:

  • 3rd Int. Symposium of Collaborative Research Centre-877 (2022)– Plenary Speaker, Kiel, Germany
  • EMBO Lecture Course (2022)– Faculty member, Invited Plenary Speaker, Spetses, Greece
  • International Cytokine & Interferon Society (2019)– Invited plenary speaker, Vienna, Austria
  • 16th Scleroderma Research Workshop (2019)– Invited plenary speaker, Cambridge, UK
  • 37th Congress of the Spanish Society of Pharmacology (Partnered with the British Society for Pharmacology)– Invited plenary speaker, Barcelona, Spain (2017)
  • British Society for Rheumatology– Invited plenary speaker (Session Sponsored by the British Society of Immunology), Birmingham, UK (2017)
  • Meet the Mesothelium (Sponsored: Kidney Research UK) – Invited speaker, Manchester, UK (2016)
  • International Congress of Immunology (2016)– Invited speaker, Melbourne, Australia
  • Keystone - Cytokine Jak-STAT signalling in immune disease (2016)– Invited speaker, Colorado, USA
  • 12th European peritoneal dialysis meeting (2015)Invited plenary speaker, Krakow, Poland
  • 14th Scleroderma Research Workshop (2015)– Invited plenary speaker, Cambridge, UK
  • International Cytokine & Interferon Society (2014)– Invited plenary speaker, Melbourne, Australia
  • British Society for Rheumatology (2014)– Invited plenary speaker, Liverpool, UK
  • American College of Rheumatology (2013)– Keynote plenary speaker, San Diego, USA
  • Keystone Conference– Biology of Cytokines & Th17 Cells in Health & Disease (2012), Colorado, USA
  • University of Pennsylvania, USA, Department of Veterinary Pathology– Invited Speaker (2011)
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA, Department of Pathology– Invited Speaker (2011)
  • German Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (2007) Plenary speaker, Hamburg, Germany
  • Australian Society for Medical Research (2006) Invited plenary speaker, Melbourne, Australia

Examples of contributions to medical education programmes:

  • Immune Mediated and Inflammatory Disease Summit (with Janssen Pharmaceuticals)– Royal College of Physicians, London (2017)
  • Midlands Clinical Rheumatology MeetingKeynote Lecture: ‘The biology behind IL-6 therapy’ (2017)
  • CESAS Medical– ‘Considering Interleukin-6’ (one of five invited speakers)– London, UK (2017) (see:
  • Peninsula & Severn Clinical Rheumatology Meeting Invited Lecture – Taunton, Somerset, UK (2016)
  • European League against rheumatism: Roche sponsored satellite meeting (2012) Berlin, Germany.
  • American College of Rheumatology: Roche sponsored satellite meeting (2011) Chicago, USA

Organisation of International Scientific Conferences:

  • International Cytokine & Interferon Society Annual Conference (2026) Chair of Organising committee for the forthcoming Cytokines2026, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • International Cytokine & Interferon Society Annual Conference (2021) Chair of Organising committee for Cytokines2021, Cardiff City Hall, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • International Cytokine & Interferon Society Conference (Oct 2014)Member of the International Organising Committee for Cytokine 2014, Melbourne, Australia
  • Biochemical Society Member; Theme Panel-V (2008-12) Review of meetings in Signal transduction.

Committees and reviewing

Current management and leadership responsibilities-

  • Dean of Research for The School of Medicine - since May 2017
  • School Board Committee - since May 2017
  • School of Medicine, Executive Committee - since May 2017
  • Chair of The REF Planning Committee, The School of Medicine - since July 2017
  • Theme Lead for Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, College of Biomedical & Life Sciences (CBLS) - since 2015
  • College Research Board Member, CBLS - since 2015
  • Wellcome Trust ISSF Board member
  • Lead for Equipment & Infrastructure in CBLS - Since 2016
  • Research Management Group Committee, School of Medicine - Since 2013
  • Division of Infection & Immunity Steering Committee - 2010-2017
  • Research Lead for Inflammation Research, Division of Infection & Immunity, The School of Medicine - 2012-2017
  • Systems Immunity URI Executive Committee- Since 2015
  • Research Lead for Inflammation Research, Systems Immunity URI - 2015-2017
  • Member of the College of Experts Peer Review Panel - Since 2012
  • Internal Review Panel member for Wellcome Trust ISSF Awards (Chair of Mobility Award Panel, Equipment Assessment Panel member)
  • Review panel member of the COFUND/Ser Cymru, and Capital Medical University (China) Fellowship Schemes
  • Executive Committee for the Cardiff Regional Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre (Basic Science Lead) - Since 2013
  • Governance Committee for Human Tissue Bank (Kidney) - Since 2014
  • Management Committee, Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence - Since 2015
  • Scientific Misconduct Review – member of a panel that conducted an internal allegations review process (2016).
  • Member of the Hodge Foundation Executive Committee – linking immunology & Neuroscience