Photo of Jonathan Knowles

Jonathan Knowles

  • PL 20 (Tukholmankatu 8)



1991 …2017

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Curriculum vitae

Professor Jonathan K.C. Knowles 

Visiting Professor, FIMM, HiLIFE, University of Helsinki, Finland

Visiting Professor, University of Oxford, U.K.

Professor Emeritus, EPFL, Switzerland


Professor Knowles was Head of Group Research and Member of the Executive Committee at Roche up to the end of 2009. He was a member of the Genentech Board for the last 12 years and a member of the Chugai Board for seven years. In this role he had oversight of an R&D budget of more than 8 Billion €.  Prof. Knowles was also the chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee of Genentech. Under his leadership, the company developed and implemented a strategy of highly effective therapies based on personalized healthcare.

He was, for 5 years, the Chairman of the Research Directors’ Group of EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations) and was the first chairman of the Board of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a unique public-private partnership between 28 Pharmaceutical companies and the European Commission with the participation of over 200 academic institutions in Europe with a budget of more than 5 Billion Euros over ten years.

Prior to this, he served as Director of the Glaxo Institute in Geneva for 10 years and as Head of European Research for Glaxo Wellcome.

Prof Knowles attended Magdalen College School in Oxford and received a First Class Honours Degree in Molecular Genetics from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. He received his Ph.D. in Genetics of Mitochondria with Professor G. H. Beale F.R.S. from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Jonathan Knowles held a Distinguished Professorship in Personalised medicine at FIMM (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland) at the University of Helsinki 2010-2014 and his work at FIMM continues as Visiting Professor.  Jonathan Knowles is also Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford, Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, Professor Emeritus at EPFL, Lausanne and a visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

In 2011, Jonathan Knowles was appointed as a Trustee of Cancer Research UK, one of the world’s leading Cancer Research Organisations and as  Board member of A*Star, the leading state research organisation in Singapore. He is currently Chairman of Immunocore Ltd. and Adaptimmune Ltd, two leading UK Cancer Immunotherapy companies and serves as a non-executive member of a number of Biotech company boards and on the international scientific advisory boards of several Public Organisations.

In April 2015 Jonathan Knowles was named as the Personalized Medicine World Conference 2015 Honorary.


Fields of Science

  • 3111 Biomedicine
  • Personalised medicine
  • Precision medicine
  • Cancer biology

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.


JAK1/2 and BCL2 inhibitors synergize to counteract bone marrow stromal cell-induced protection of AML

Karjalainen, R., Pemovska, T., Popa, M., Liu, M., Javarappa, K. K., Majumder, M. M., Yadav, B., Tamborero, D., Tang, J., Bychkov, D., Kontro, M., Parsons, A., Suvela, M., Safont, M. M., Porkka, K., Aittokallio, T., Kallioniemi, O., McCormack, E., Gjertsen, B. T., Wennerberg, K. & 2 others, Knowles, J. & Heckman, C. A., 10 Aug 2017, In : Blood. 130, 6, p. 789-802 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Quantitative scoring of differential drug sensitivity for individually optimized anticancer therapies

Yadav, B., Pemovska, T., Szwajda, A., Kulesskiy, E., Kontro, M., Karjalainen, R., Majumder, M. M., Malani, D., Murumagi, A., Knowles, J., Porkka, K., Heckman, C., Kallioniemi, O., Wennerberg, K. & Aittokallio, T., 5 Jun 2014, In : Scientific Reports. 4, 10 p., 5193.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Individualized Systems Medicine Strategy to Tailor Treatments for Patients with Chemorefractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Pemovska, T., Kontro, M., Yadav, B., Edgren, H., Eldfors, S., Szwajda, A., Almusa, H., Bespalov, M. M., Ellonen, P., Elonen, E., Gjertsen, B. T., Karjalainen, R., Kulesskiy, E., Lagström, S., Lehto, A., Lepistö, M., Lundan, T., Majumder, M. M., Marti, J. M. L., Mattila, P. & 16 others, Murumagi, A., Mustjoki, S., Palva, A., Parsons, A., Pirttinen, T., Ramet, M. E., Suvela, M., Turunen, L., Vastrik, I., Wolf, M., Knowles, J., Aittokallio, T., Heckman, C. A., Porkka, K., Kallioniemi, O. & Wennerberg, K., Dec 2013, In : Cancer Discovery. 3, 12, p. 1416-1429 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Somatic STAT3 Mutations in Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia

Koskela, H. L. M., Eldfors, S., Ellonen, P., van Adrichem, A. J., Kuusanmäki, H., Andersson, E. I., Lagström, S., Clemente, M. J., Olson, T., Jalkanen, S. E., Majumder, M. M., Almusa, H., Edgren, H., Lepistö, M., Mattila, P., Guinta, K., Koistinen, P., Kuittinen, T., Penttinen, K., Parsons, A. & 9 others, Knowles, J., Saarela, J., Wennerberg, K., Kallioniemi, O., Porkka, K., Loughran, T. P., Heckman, C. A., Maciejewski, J. P. & Mustjoki, S., 2012, In : New England Journal of Medicine. 366, 20, p. 1905-1913 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Efficient secretion of murine Fab fragments by Escherichia coli is determined by the first constant domain of the heavy chain

Alfthan, K., Takkinen, K., Sizmann, D., Seppälä, I. J. T., Immonen, T., Vanne, L., Keränen, S., Kaartinen, M., Knowles, J. & Teeri, T. T., 1993, In : Gene. 128, p. 203-209 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Building Bridges Symposium

Jonathan Knowles (Speaker: Chair)
6 Oct 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Aalto University (External organisation)

Jonathan Knowles (Assessment)

Activity: Membership typesAssessment of candidates for academic posts

Interview for Team Health Finland "Strengths of Finnish cancer care"

Jonathan Knowles (Participant)
1 Jul 2015

Activity: Other activity typesTypes for other activities - Other

SLUSH: MedTrack keynote, introduction to the personalized medicine (past-present-future)

Jonathan Knowles (Speaker: Keynote)
12 Nov 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Talks

SITRA's GetPersonalized! -summit

Jonathan Knowles (Attendee)
25 May 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Press / Media

Interview for Sydänlehti

Jonathan Knowles


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Interview: YLE /Teija Peltoniemi

Jonathan Knowles


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Interview for Roche 30 years in Finland article

Jonathan Knowles


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media