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In This Issue:
Alun G. Jones, PhD, Radiology
The Department of Radiology mourns the passing of beloved colleague, respected mentor and accomplished researcher Alun G. Jones, PhD, who died Oct. 20 at the age of 71.
A nuclear chemist in the Nuclear Medicine Section of Radiology for more than 40 years, Dr. Jones contributed major advances to the field of cardiovascular imaging through his work with radioisotopes and technetium-99/99m. He is also remembered for his warm and welcoming demeanor, wry sense of humor and generous spirit.
Born in Wales, Dr. Jones earned a PhD in Nuclear Chemistry from the University of Liverpool and completed additional training at the Institute for Nuclear Physics Research in Amsterdam before emigrating to the U.S. in 1969. After a year at the University of Maryland, Dr. Jones accepted an assignment at Harvard Medical School in 1971 to conduct research with BWH’s Nuclear Medicine Section, choosing cardiovascular imaging applications of technetium-99 as his area of focus.
In 1984, Dr. Jones’ team discovered a chemical compound that could attach to the technetium-99 isotope and deliver it to the heart. They administered the new radiotracer to a human subject and used a nuclear medicine camera to take the first ever high-resolution, clinically valuable images of the subject’s heart. The subject suffered no ill effects, and Dr. Jones’ discovery was deemed a success. He shared the discovery’s patent with his close friends and colleagues, Alan Davison, PhD, and M.J. Abrams, PhD, both of MIT. In 1992, Dr. Jones and Davison received the Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award, one of the National Institutes of Health’s most prestigious awards. Less than 5 percent of NIH-funded investigators receive this award.
“I worked alongside Dr. Jones for more than 40 years,” said former Nuclear Medicine Section head Jim Adelstein, MD. “Not a day went by that Alun was anything less than a supremely talented and committed scientist. His work was a major step in advancing cardiac diagnostics and treatments and the chemical compounds his team discovered are used on a daily basis with thousands of patients around the world. I cherish those many years spent working with my colleague and friend.”
Dr. Jones is survived by his wife, Anne K. Serrell-Jones, and sons, Andrew and Timothy Jones.
A memorial service was held at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge on Dec. 1. Contributions may be made to the Bourne Conservation Trust of Bourne, MA, or the Alun G. Jones Student Scholarship at Harvard Medical School.