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Professor Jonathan Jones

Research Group Leader

Twitter @jonathandgjones

The Sainsbury Laboratory
Norwich Research Park

Jonathan Jones (JJ) received a degree in Plant Sciences, and then a PhD in Genetics at the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge University. He was a postdoc with Fred Ausubel in Boston 1981-82, working on symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

From 1983-88, JJ was among the first to work with GM crops at start-up agbiotech company Advanced Genetic Sciences, Oakland, CA, which was established to use molecular biology for crop improvement.

In 1988, he joined The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, where he has made significant contributions to our understanding of plant transposons, plant disease and plant disease resistance. He was elected FRS in 2003. He was a cofounder of Mendel Biotechnology and Norfolk Plant Sciences Ltd.

JJ is a strong advocate in Europe of the potential benefits of GM crops, particularly using cloned resistance genes to protect against plant disease. He co-authored “Reaping the Benefits” ( and a recent commentary to CST on GM crops and food ( His current research focuses on mechanisms of plant immune receptors encoded by Resistance genes, and on how pathogens suppress host immunity. He is also using GM to develop potato lines with elevated disease and pest resistance, and improved tuber quality. His research is funded by the Gatsby foundation, BBSRC, EU Marie Curie, GBMF, BGMF and the ERC.