Saturday 9 June 2018

Liver expert recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Leading academic Professor Dave Jones has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his outstanding contribution to medicine.

Professor Jones, from Newcastle University’s Institute of Cellular Medicine and lead for the Liver Disease theme with the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, has received an OBE for his services to liver medicine and clinical academic training.

He has a strong track record in delivering the best outcomes for patients with liver problems, particularly Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), by helping develop new drugs and treatment.

Leading liver expert

Professor Jones is an expert in liver immunology at Newcastle University and Principle Investigator for the UK-PBC Research Consortium.

He leads the internationally renowned autoimmune liver disease clinical service in the North East, hosted by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

For more than 25 years, he has worked in the area of PBC, starting as a Medical Research Council Clinical Research and Clinical Scientist Fellow.

Working initially on the underpinning biology of the disease, he has translated key mechanistic discoveries into new approaches to therapy.

Professor Jones said: “I am delighted, and very pleasantly surprised, to be awarded an OBE for my work in liver medicine and in academic training.

“My whole career has been focused on improving the lives of patients with the liver disease Primary Biliary Cholangitis and in helping the next generation of medical researchers. It is nice to know your efforts are seen and appreciated.

“Everything has been done as part of teams and I acknowledge the support and contribution of my colleagues at Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the National Institute for Health Research.

“I also acknowledge the support and passion of the patients with liver disease and, in particular, LIVErNORTH and the PBC Foundation who do so much good work.”

Revolutionised patient care

 The UK-PBC MRC Stratified Medicine programme, which Professor Jones leads, has revolutionised thinking in the disease, defining the unmet need, developing the clinical tools needed to quantify risk and identifying the patient groups who need enhanced therapy in PBC.

He has led the evaluation, approval and implementation programmes for the first stratified therapy in PBC, obeticholic acid, which is now available across the NHS.

Professor Jones is the coordinator for the RARE-LIVER European Reference Network, which was set up to support the development of clinical delivery programmes for rare liver disease across Europe.

In addition to his clinical and research work, Professor Jones has a long interest in training and is the NIHR Dean for Faculty Trainees.

He has played a key role in the development of new integrated academic pathways which will help develop the next generation of researchers in the area of stratified medicine and its underpinning technologies.

Professor Jones is the lead for the Liver Disease theme with the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre; a partnership between the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University

Within this theme, the NIHR Newcastle BRC supports research to enhance our understanding of causes, therapies and potential cures of several liver conditions

Professor Avan Sayer, Director of the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, said: “Professor Jones has played a critical role in liver disease research and patient care. as well as clinical academic training. He is dedicated to improving people’s lives through the discovery of the causes, therapies and potential cures of serious liver conditions, and his OBE is much deserved recognition for his achievements”.

Benefitted from knowledge

Newcastle University is world-renowned for its liver expertise and Professor Jones has been an important part of establishing this reputation.

Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, said: “I would like to congratulate Professor Jones on his honour.

“This is well deserved and testament to his talent and expertise in liver medicine and helping the next generation of medical researchers.

“I am proud Newcastle University has benefitted from his knowledge over the years.”

Image: with thanks to the MRC