Jacob Jones, Cal State San Bernardino associate professor of psychology and a licensed psychologist, will formally receive the Western Psychological Association’s (WPA) Early Career Research Award at the organization’s annual conference April 27-30.

The award recognizes a WPA member relatively early in their career (10 years or fewer post-doctorate) who has demonstrated outstanding promise in research, in publishing articles, chapters, and books, and success in obtaining grants for research, according to the WPA website.

“WPA consists of psychologists from many, if not all the 23 California State Universities, so to be chosen from this group is an honor,” said Jones. “When I was an undergraduate student at Cal State Channel Islands in 2008, I attended my first WPA conference, so it’s a milestone, going full circle from being a student to receiving this award.”    

Jones, who joined Cal State San Bernardino in 2018, is a neuropsychologist researching neuropsychiatric symptoms among individuals with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. He has written more than 40 published articles and chapters in high-quality journals and has received funding for two research projects from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). One project examines the association between gut-microbiome disruptions and cognitive impairment among individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The second project, a multisite study across five states, investigates the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease among Native elders living in urban areas. Jones is leading the southern California site.

“This is a very well-deserved recognition,” said Christina Hassija, interim dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and professor of psychology. “Dr. Jones has been highly successful in securing external grants through the NIH for his work in Parkinson’s Disease and has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, many of which include student co-authors. He is an ideal candidate for this award, and I’m thrilled for him.” 

Jones said he takes great pride in the success of his mentored students. Since becoming a faculty member in 2018, 15 students have served as co-authors across 12 publications, and multiple students have earned research awards, including four who garnered the WPA General Student Poster Award — one in 2020, one in 2021 and two in 2022. He also serves as the associate director for the NIH Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE) program at CSUSB. This program aims to increase the diversity of the biomedical research workforce by providing mentoring and training to undergraduate students from underrepresented populations.

Jones earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Florida and completed an internship in neuropsychology at Brown University, both in 2016. He went on to complete an NIH-funded post-doctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at UCLA in 2018.