Molecular endocrinologist Lovell A. Jones was born January 12, 1949 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He attended the University of California, Berkeley where he received his Ph.D. degree in the field of zoology, with an emphasis on endocrinology and tumor biology. Upon completing his Ph.D., Jones worked as a post-doctoral fellow/instructor in the department of physiology and obstetrics, gynecology & reproductive sciences at the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco.
In 1980, Jones joined the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as an assistant professor in the department of gynecology and biochemistry, where he has served for over thirty years. As the first African American to be hired in the basic/behavioral sciences, he rose through the ranks to a tenured full professor. During his tenure, he focused on the role of steroid hormones in reproductive cancers and health disparities that exist in minority and medically underserved populations. Jones served as founder of the Biennial Symposium Series: Minorities, the Medically Underserved & Cancer and co-founder of the Intercultural Cancer Council. He has served as director and co-principal investigator of the National Black Leadership Initiative, the first major minority outreach project sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. In 2000, Jones was named the first director of M.D. Anderson’s Congressionally Mandated Center for Research on Minority Health (CRMH). In 2011, he assumed the positions of research professor of social work at the University of Houston and director of the joint Dorothy I. Height Center for Health Equity & Evaluation Research (DH CHEER).
Jones chaired the training session of the strategic fact-finding meetings on Minority Health and Training in Biomedical Sciences for the Office of the Associate Director for Research on Minority Health (now the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Jones also served as a member of the Clinical Research Panel of the National Task Force on the National Institute of Health (NIH) Strategic Plan. In addition, he served on the Breast Cancer Integration Panel for the Department of Defense, and has published over 150 scientific articles on subjects ranging from hormonal carcinogenesis to health policy. By 2012, Jones had received more than $40 million dollars in research and educational funding.
In 2002, Jones received the Humanitarian Award from the American Cancer Society and was honored on the floor by the U.S. House of Representatives for his work. Jones was awarded the NIH/NICMHD Director’s Award for Health Disparities Excellence in Research, Policy & Practice. He received the 2012 Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award from the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, as well as the NAACP Unsung Hero Award. In September 2013, upon his retirement from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Jones became the first African American to be honored by the University of Texas System with Professor Emeritus status at Anderson. He then became the first African American in the University of Texas System to be awarded a second title of Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2014.
In retirement Jones is continuing his efforts to address the issue of health disparities and mentor the next generation.
Lovell A. Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on 08/14/2012.