SMB People

SMB People


Meet New SMB Director, Jonathan Jones


by Marcia Hill Gossard '99, '04


drsjonathanjones-johnnilson
John Nilson and Jonathan Jones

SMB welcomes new a director, Jonathan Jones. Jonathan comes to us from Northwestern University’s Department of Cell and Molecular Biology in the Feinberg School of Medicine. To get here, he and his wife Susan drove 1869 miles from Chicago to Pullman over Labor Day weekend with a dog and tropical fish in tow.

“We were very glad when we drove into the parking of the SMB building September 3,” says Jones. “The fish most of all.”

Originally from Wales, Jonathan earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from the University of St. Andrews in England. He went on to complete a post-doc at Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh. In 1981, he accepted a research position at Northwestern University, where he spent the next 32 years of his career. After his wife Susan retired from the Navy Reserve two years ago, Jonathan thought it would be the ideal time to pursue new career challenges.

“I really wanted a new challenge to go along with my research program,” says Jones. “I thought I could make a difference in faculty development as a chair.”

When the director position came open at SMB, it seemed like a perfect fit.

“There is a very nice portfolio of research in the school and there is an emerging need for recruitment,” says Jones. “The college leadership is also highly dedicated to the success of the school’s research and teaching.”

Jonathan and Susan also liked the idea of the slower pace of life outside work in the Pullman/Moscow area.

“We thought it would be nice to move to a smaller town where we could have a house and proper garden,” says Jones. “It was a big, but welcomed change.”

As director, Jones plans to strengthen existing areas and programs. A search is currently underway for new faculty to join the SMB. With a medical school background, he also hopes to be a part of developing a strong PhD/DVM program within the college.

“We need to continue to invest in our young scientists,” says Jones.

We say farewell, but not goodbye to John Nilson, who stepped down as director after 12 years. He will continue his research at SMB. Thanks to John for all his years of service! A research symposium will be held in the fall of 2014 in his honor.

Washington State University