Clare College Cambridge

Prof Philip Jones

Professor of Cancer Development, MRC Cancer Unit
Faculty, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Consultant in Medical Oncology, Addenbrooke’s Hospital


Departmental webpage:


What is your subject and specific area of study?

I work as a clinical doctor, treating patients with skin cancer and also as a scientist researching how normal cells change as they turn into cancer. Our research has shown that cells with DNA alterations linked to cancer spread through normal tissues, so that by middle age most of our cells carry at least one cancer linked DNA change. This process works like Darwinian evolution, with environmental selection of specific alterations in cells that improve their competitive fitness. We hope that by changing the environment we will be able to redirect evolution so pre-cancerous cells in normal tissues are selected out and the risks of cancer reduced.

Why choose Clare to study Medical Sciences?

At Clare you will get small group teaching from an experienced and supportive group of medical Fellows who work in the clinic as well as the lab. We all try to bring preclinical subjects alive by linking the science with examples from our clinical work, and can provide strong support as students move to the clinical phase of their training at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Main Publications:

Frede, J., P. Greulich, T. Nagy, B.D. Simons, and P.H. Jones, A single dividing cell population with imbalanced fate drives oesophageal tumour growth. Nature Cell Biology, 18: 967-978. 2016.

 Roshan, A., K. Murai, J. Fowler, B.D. Simons, V. Nikolaidou-Neokosmidou, and P.H. Jones, Human keratinocytes have two interconvertible modes of proliferation. Nature Cell Biology, 18: 145-156. 2016.

 Martincorena, I., A. Roshan, M. Gerstung, P. Ellis, P. Van Loo, S. McLaren, D.C. Wedge, A. Fullam, L.B. Alexandrov, J.M. Tubio, L. Stebbings, A. Menzies, et al., P.H. Jones co-corresponding author. Tumor evolution. High burden and pervasive positive selection of somatic mutations in normal human skin. Science, 348: 880-886. 2015.

 Alexandrov, L.B., P.H. Jones, D.C. Wedge, J.E. Sale, P.J. Campbell, S. Nik-Zainal, and M.R. Stratton, Clock-like mutational processes in human somatic cells. Nature Genetics, 47:1402-7. 2015.