A photo of Courtney Jones.

Courtney L. Jones, PhD

  • Member, Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology
  • Member, Advanced Leukemia Therapies and Research Center
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



My goal as a researcher is to identify and develop new therapeutic strategies to target leukemia cells with the overall objective of improving the lives of patients with leukemia. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a disease with poor outcomes. Initially, most patients with AML respond to our current treatments; however, most patients will develop recurrence and eventually succumb to the disease. Not all cells within AML are created equally. A subset of leukemic cells called LSCs persist through treatment, resulting in disease relapse. Therefore, developing new approaches to better target LSCs to improve patient outcomes is essential.

Our lab and others have shown that LSCs have unique and targetable metabolic properties. We seek to identify novel metabolic vulnerabilities of LSCs with the long-term goal of developing new therapeutic approaches to alter LSCs and improve patient outcomes. We have discovered several pharmacologically targetable metabolic vulnerabilities of LSCs. For example, we found that LSCs, unlike more mature AML cells or normal hematopoietic stem cells, utilize amino acid catabolism for energy production. When amino acids are limited, normal cells upregulate compensatory pathways to produce energy. LSCs do not have this ability, resulting in cellular energy loss and cell death (Cancer Cell, 2018).

In addition, we discovered that metabolic vulnerabilities evolve throughout disease pathogenesis, meaning metabolism-targeting therapies may result in different outcomes depending on the disease stage (Cell Stem Cell, 2020). Finally, we have interrogated the role of metabolism outside energy production by showing that metabolites are critical for regulating protein function through their role in post-translational modifications in LSCs (Nature Medicine, 2018; Blood, 2019). These fundamental discoveries have led to the initiation of several clinical trials, which we hope will improve the lives of patients with AML.

I'm honored to be the recipient of various awards and positions, including:

  • NextGen Stars Award, American Association for Cancer Research (2023)
  • Victor Ling Terry Fox New Investigator Award (2023)
  • Canada Research Chair in Leukemia Stem Cell Metabolism Tier Two (2022)
  • Career Achievement Award, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (2021)
  • Rising Star in Cancer Metabolism, New York Academy (2021)
  • Excellence in Teaching Award (2021)
  • American Society of Hematology Scholar Award (2021)
  • Canadian Cancer Society Emerging Scholar Award (2021)
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Special Fellows Award (2019)
  • American Cancer Society Fellows Award (2017)

I have been a researcher for over 18 years and began working at Cincinnati Children's in 2023. Please note that we are recruiting! Interested graduate students and postdoctoral fellows should apply to courtney.jones@cchmc.org.

BS: University of New Haven, New Haven, CT.

PhD: New York University, New York, NY.

Postdoctoral Fellow: University of Colorado, Aurora, CO.


Acute myeloid leukemia; leukemia stem cells; cancer metabolism

Research Areas

Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology