Dr. Nina Jones

Dr. Nina Jones
Professor, Canada Research Chair
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Phone number: 
53643 / 56496
SSC 3461
SSC 3405-6

I developed an interest in molecular biology and genetics while pursuing my undergraduate degree here at the University of Guelph. During my Ph.D. training at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Dumont, my research focused on the understanding of signal transduction pathways required for blood vessel formation. This process, known as angiogenesis, occurs during normal development as well as in diseases such as cancer. My interests in using proteins as building blocks to assemble signalling pathways brought me to the laboratory of Dr. Tony Pawson for my postdoctoral fellowship. There, I studied a unique signalling scaffold in the kidney known as the slit diaphragm, and through a combination of biochemical, cellular and genetic approaches, we were able to demonstrate the importance of several adaptor molecules in kidney development and disease. In the fall of 2006, I joined the faculty of the newly-formed Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. My research continues to investigate the molecular basis of signal transduction, with an emphasis on understanding aspects of embryonic development, kidney function, blood vessel formation, cancer biology and nervous system patterning.

  • B.Sc. - Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Guelph
  • Ph.D. - Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto
  • PDF - Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute, Toronto

Research in our laboratory is focused on defining eukaryotic signal transduction pathways, and investigating how mutations in components of these pathways can contribute to human disease. Signal transduction is a central process in multicellular organisms that allows for the exchange of informational cues between and within cells. These cues are interpreted by organized networks of protein interactions inside the cell which regulate complex biochemical events, ultimately converting them into biological responses such as growth, migration, differentiation and survival. Cells have evolved a tremendous ability to selectively activate specific downstream pathways, through formation of distinct protein complexes. Understanding the molecular basis of these interactions is therefore a significant challenge in biology, and it is of key importance in defining how certain mutations can lead to pathological conditions such as kidney disease and cancer. To address these questions, our research team utilizes an interdisciplinary approach, which includes modern mouse genetic tools, cell culture models, high-resolution microscopy, large-scale profiling techniques and clinical specimens. 

Current areas of research include:

  • Signalling pathways controlling kidney podocyte morphology.
  • Focal adhesion dynamics in cancer cells.
  • Characterization of a novel neuronal adaptor protein, ShcD.


  • Cooper CJ*, Dutta NT,* Martin CE, Piscione TD, Thorner PS, Jones N. (2018) Characterization of a novel disease-associated mutation within NPHS1 and its effects on nephrin phosphorylation and signaling. PLOS One. 13(9):e0203905.
  • Martin CE, Jones N. (2018) Nephrin signaling in the podocyte: An updated view of signal regulation at the slit diaphragm and beyond. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 9:302.
  • Martin CE, Petersen KA, Aoudjit L, Tilak M, Eremina V, Hardy WR, Quaggin SE, Takano T, Jones N. (2018) ShcA adaptor protein promotes nephrin endocytosis and is upregulated in proteinuric nephropathies. Journal of American Society of Nephrology. 29: 92-103. Highlighted in Nature Reviews Nephrology
  • Wills MKLau HRJones N. (2017) The ShcD phosphotyrosine adaptor subverts canonical EGF receptor trafficking.  Journal of Cell Science. 130: 2808-2820. 
  • Wills MK, Keyvani Chahi A*, Lau HR*, Tilak M*, Guild BD, New LA, Lu P, Jacquet K, Meakin SO, Bisson N, Jones N. (2017) Signaling adaptor ShcD suppresses extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) phosphorylation distal to the Ret and Trk neurotrophic receptors. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 292:5748-5759. (* denotes equal contributions)
  • New LA, Martin CE*, Scott RP*, Platt MJ, Keyvani Chahi A, Stringer CD, Lu P, Samborska B, Eremina V, Simpson JA, Quaggin SE, Jones N. (2016) Nephrin tyrosine phosphorylation is required for maintenance and restoration of podocyte foot process architecture. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 27: 2422-2435 (*denotes equal contributions). - Highlighted in Nature Reviews Nephrology 
  • Keyvani Chahi A, Martin CE, Jones N. (2016) Nephrin Suppresses Hippo Signaling Through the Adaptor Proteins Nck and WTIP. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 291: 12799-12808.
  • Clouthier DL*, Harris CN*, Harris RA*, Martin CE, Puri MC, Jones N. (2015) Requisite role for Nck adaptors in cardiovascular development, endothelial-to mesenchymal transition and directed cell migration. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 35:1573-1587. (*denotes equal contributions) - Selected by the Editors as an Article of Significant Interest 
  • New LA*, Martin CE*, Jones N. (2014) Advances in slit diaphragm signaling. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension.  23:420-430. (*denotes equal contributions)
  • Wills MK, Tong J, Tremblay SL, Moran MF, Jones N. (2014) The ShcD signaling adaptor facilitates ligand-independent phosphorylation of the EGF Receptor. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 25:739-752.
  • New LA, Keyvani Chahi A, Jones N. (2013) Direct regulation of nephrin tyrosine phosphorylation by Nck adaptor proteins. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 288:1500-1510.
  • Smith GS, Samborska B, Hawley SP, Klaiman J, Gillis TE, Jones N, Boggs JM, Harauz G. (2013) Nucleus-localized 21.5-kDa myelin basic protein promotes oligodendrocyte proliferation and enhances neurite outgrowth in co-culture, unlike the plasma membrane-associated 18.5-kDa isoform. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 91:349-362.
  • Wills MK, Jones N. (2012) Teaching an old dogma new tricks: Twenty years of Shc adaptor signalling. Biochemical Journal. 447:1-16.
  • Scott RP, Hawley SP, Ruston J, Du J, Brakebusch C, Jones N, Pawson T. (2012) Podocyte-specific loss of Cdc42 but not Rac1 or RhoA leads to congenital nephropathy. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 23:1149-1154.
  • Smith GS, De Avila M, Paez PM, Spreuer V, Wills MK, Jones N, Boggs JM, Harauz G. (2012) Proline substitutions and threonine pseudophosphorylation of the SH3 ligand of 18.5-kDa myelin basic protein decrease its affinity for the Fyn-SH3 domain and alter process development and protein localization in oligodendrocytes. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 90:28-47.
  • Hawley SP, Wills MK, Rabalski AJ, Bendall AJ, Jones N. (2011) Expression patterns of ShcD and Shc family adaptor proteins during mouse embryonic development. Developmental Dynamics, 240:221-231.
  • Hawley SP, Wills MK, Jones N. (2010) Adenovirus-mediated genetic removal of signaling molecules in cultured primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts.  Journal of Visualized Experiments, 43.
  • Jones N, New LA, Fortino MA, Eremina V, Ruston J, Blasutig IM, Aoudjit L, Zou Y, Liu X, Yu G-L, Takano T, Quaggin SE, Pawson T. (2009) Nck proteins maintain the adult glomerular filtration barrier. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 20:1533-1543.
  • Blasutig IM, New LA, Thanabalasuriar A, Dayarathna TK, Goudreault M, Quaggin SE, Li S S-C, Gruenheid S, Jones N, Pawson T. (2008) Phosphorylated YDXV motifs and Nck SH2/SH3 adaptors act cooperatively to induce actin reorganization. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 28:2035-2046.
  • Wills M, Jones N. (2008) The ShcD phosphotyrosine adaptor exhibits novel binding characteristics with the TrkA neurotrophin receptor. Studies by Undergraduate Researchers at Guelph, 2:29-70.
  • Jones N, Hardy WR, Friese MB, Jorgensen C, Smith MJ, Woody NM, Burden SJ, Pawson T. (2007) Analysis of a Shc family adaptor protein, ShcD/Shc4, that associates with Muscle-Specific Kinase (MuSK). Molecular and Cellular Biology, 27:4759-4773.
  • Smith MJ, Hardy WR, Murphy JM, Jones N, Pawson T (2006) Screening for PTB domain binding partners and ligand specificity using proteome-derived NPxY peptide arrays. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 26:8461-8474.
  • Jones N, Blasutig IM, Eremina V, Ruston JM, Bladt F, Li H, Huang H, Larose L, Li SS, Takano T, Quaggin SE, Pawson T. (2006) Nck adaptor proteins link nephrin to the actin cytoskeleton of kidney podocytes. Nature, 440:818-823.
  • Tachibana K, Jones N, Dumont DJ, Puri MC, Bernstein A. (2005) Selective role of a distinct tyrosine residue on Tie2 in heart development and early hematopoiesis. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 25:4693-4702.
  • Voskas D*, Jones N*, Van Slyke P, Sturk C, Chang W, Haninec A, Babichev YO, Tran J, Master Z, Chen S, Ward N, Cruz M, Jones J, Kerbel RS, Jothy S, Dagnino L, Arbiser J, Klement G, Dumont DJ. (2005) A cyclosporine-sensitive psoriasis-like disease produced in Tie2 transgenic mice. American Journal of Pathology, 166:843-855. (*denotes equal contributions )
  • Kimura Y, Jones N, Kluppel M, Hirashima M, Tachibana K, Cohn JB, Wrana JL, Pawson T, Bernstein A. (2004) Targeted mutations of the juxtamembrane tyrosines in the Kit receptor tyrosine kinase selectively affect multiple cell lineages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101:6015-6020.
  • Jones N, Iljin K, Dumont DJ, Alitalo K. (2001) Tie receptors: new modulators of angiogenic and lymphangiogenic responses. Nature Reviews: Molecular Cell Biology, 2:257-67.

Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • Dr. Begüm Alural (co-supervised with Dr. Jasmin Lalonde)

  • Dr. Hayley Lau

  • Dr. Manali Tilak 

Graduate Students:

  • Cassandra Clausen
  • Una Pantic (M.Sc.) F22
  • Erka Shata (M.Sc.) F22
  • Hayley Smith (Ph.D.) F22
  • Emma Pearen
  • Nathaniel Petersen
  • Alice Wang
  • Hyeyun Yang

Visiting Scientist

  • Dr. Claire Martin (LTRI, Toronto, ON)

Research Associate

  • Dr. Laura New
  • Dr. Casey Williamson

Lab Manager

  • Peihua Lu
  • MBG*3050 – Human Genetics
  • MBG*4070 – Genetics and Molecular Biology of Development
  • MCB*6310 – Advanced Concepts in Cell and Developmental Biology
  • MCB*6340 - Advanced Topics in Molecular Genetics


  • June 2009: Guelph Researcher Awarded Grant From Brain Tumour Foundation
  • August 2016: Prof Gets $750,000 Grant to Support Kidney Disease Research
  • September 2016: Prof Elected to College of Scholars
  • December 2016: U of G Gets $1.5 Million From Canada Research Chairs Program
  • March 2017: Guelph Y announces 2017 Women of Distinction honourees
  • March 2019: Investigation into Novel Gene Mutation Provides Surprising Insights into Rare Kidney Disease
  • August 2021Study Sheds New Light on How Tumour Cells Invade Brain Tissue