News Release

Pioneering researcher Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones receives genetics award from March of Dimes

Grant and Award Announcement

March of Dimes Foundation

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., MARCH 16, 2007 -- Kenneth Lyons Jones, M.D., the renowned pediatrician and birth defects researcher who was one of two doctors who identified fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), will receive the 2007 March of Dimes/Colonel Harland Sanders Award for lifetime achievement in the field of genetic sciences.

The award will be presented to Dr. Jones on March 23 at the Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting of the American College of Medical Genetics in Nashville, Tennessee. Michael Katz, M.D., senior vice president for Research and Global Programs of the March of Dimes, will preside over the ceremony.

Dr. Jones is Chief of the Division of Dysmorphology/Teratology in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He has been active in research, teaching, clinical work, and public service for nearly 40 years. Dr. Jones was also awarded a March of Dimes grant for organizing an annual seminar in clinical teratology.

Dr. Jones’ research has focused on dysmorphology, the study of birth defects, particularly those affecting the anatomy of the individual; identifying the mechanisms of normal and abnormal fetal development; and the recognition of new human teratogens (birth defects-causing agents). He is the author of more than 400 publications in scientific journals, as well as several books. His book, “Smith’s Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation,’’ is the reference used by health care professions to assist in the diagnosis and management of individuals with birth defects and genetic conditions.

Among Dr. Jones’ many accomplishments, the most famous by now is his coining of the term “fetal alcohol syndrome,” along with David W. Smith, M.D., to define the distinct cluster of birth defects seen exclusively in the babies of women who used alcohol during pregnancy. In 1973, the two published their finding that alcohol was a teratogen in the British journal Lancet*.

Dr. Jones and his colleagues who identified FAS were part of a March of Dimes-supported group focusing on diagnosis and treatment of birth defects. Another major accomplishment by Dr. Jones was the establishment of the California Teratogen Information Service (CTIS) in 1979. The goals of CTIS are two-fold: to provide information to pregnant women and their physicians about the potential teratogenic risk of drugs, chemicals and environmental agents to the developing fetus and to gain new information about the effects of agents for which little or no information is available. Many in the medical and scientific communities worldwide embraced the concept of providing a service while conducting research. CTIS is now well known as the model for Teratology Information Services in not only the United States and Canada, but South America, Europe, and Australia as well.

Dr. Jones is past president of the Western Society for Pediatric Research and the Teratology Society. He was co-chair of the Scientific Working Group on Diagnostic Guidelines for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, convened by the National Center for Birth Defects & Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.


The March of Dimes is a national volunteer health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. National Prematurity Campaign sponsors CIGNA, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, Motherhood Maternity, American Baby, Babytalk, and Working Mother Magazine support the March of Dimes efforts to address the increasing rate of prematurity. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy. For more information, visit the March of Dimes Web site at or its Spanish language Web site at

*Jones KL, Smith DW. Recognition of fetal alcohol syndrome in early infancy. Lancet. 1973;2:999–1001.

Todd P. Dezen, (914) 997-4608,
Elizabeth Lynch, (914) 997-4286,
Robert Storace, (914) 997-4622,

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