Grant Jones, Class of 2017

Grant Jones, a Henderson, Kentucky, native, is currently a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics department. He originally came to the University of Kentucky in 2008 for his undergraduate degree, where his first Microbiology course in bacterial pathogenesis set his path. Jones enjoyed “learning about infectious disease and the mechanisms by which pathogens outcompete our immune system.”

When it came time to decide what to do for graduate school, Jones chose the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program (IBS) at UK because of its unique feature of letting students rotate through six different departments before selecting a focus. “I found this to be an incredibly valuable experience that allowed me to gauge my scientific interests and learn a variety of new techniques, many of which I have utilized throughout my graduate training,” he said.

Eventually Jones settled on the department that had gotten him interested in infectious disease study and began working in Dr. Sarah D’Orazio’s laboratory. “After joining the Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics department, I quickly felt at ‘home’ after choosing my mentor, forming my dissertation committee, and interacting with professors in the department. I am continually encouraged by the collaborative atmosphere in not only my ‘home’ department, but also with students and faculty from other departments, which has helped make my graduate career much more fulfilling.”

Now that he has found his home at UK, Jones has turned his focus towards his research area. “My dissertation research focuses on how Listeria monocytogenes can cause life-threatening infections after the consumption of contaminated food. I am interested in defining bottlenecks of systemic dissemination, which refers to physical or immunological barriers that limit the growth or spread of Listeria beyond the gastrointestinal tract.”

Grant Jones spends time outside of the lab at the Immunology and Pathogenesis journal clubs in the Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics department and serving as the graduate student representative on the Microbiology Educational Policies and Practices Committee (MEPP), where he organizes the annual department retreat.

Outside of the university, Jones can be found outside. “I love spending time outdoors either playing golf, camping, or fishing. I also enjoy woodworking and cooking.”

Jones already has a plan for what he would like to do when his time at UK finally comes to an end. “I am pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship focused on mucosal immunology in the context of inflammation and dysbiosis.”