Josephine C. Adams was born in Leicester, UK, and grew up in the nearby city of Nottingham. She read Natural Sciences (Biological) at the University of Cambridge, UK, where she was an undergraduate member of Newnham College. She received her Ph.D. degree in 1987 from the University of London. She undertook postdoctoral research at Imperial Cancer Research Fund London and then held consecutive EMBO Long-Term and Human Frontiers Science Program Long-Term fellowships as a post-doctoral researcher in the Vascular Research Division, Dept. of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University. In 1994, she became a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Basic Biomedical Research and set up her own research laboratory at the MRC-Laboratory for Cell Biology, University College London (UCL), with honorary appointments as Lecturer, then Reader in Molecular Cell Biology, in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UCL. From 2002 she was a faculty member in the Department of Cell Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, rising to the level of Professor of Molecular Medicine. Since 2009 she has been Professor of Cell Biology in the School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, UK, where she also acts as organizer for second-year Biochemistry Units and as a member of the management group for the Wellcome Trust Ph.D. program in “Dynamic Cell Biology.”
Adams has served on multiple editorial boards, as an Associate Editor of Molecular Biology of the Cell, and as Reviews Editor for the International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She has acted as guest editor for several journal special issues and was the editor of “Methods in Cell-Matrix Adhesion” in the Methods in Cell Biology series. From 2006-2009 she served as the American Society for Cell Biology representative on the Editorial Board of Physiological Reviews, and from 2009-2014 has been a member of the European Editorial Committee of Physiological Reviews. She has organized several research conferences and is the author of numerous original research papers, reviews, and book chapters.
Adams’ research has received grant support from the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council-UK, National Institutes of Health, USA, British Heart Foundation, and other agencies. Her research is in the area of cell interactions with extracellular matrix, and emphasizes the identification of basic cellular mechanisms and the application of interdisciplinary approaches to examine their roles in tumor progression and metastasis, fibrosis, or smooth muscle cell function. Research topics include extracellular matrix assembly and extracellular matrix activities in actin cytoskeletal organization, cell motility, and nucleocytoplasmic communication. The evolution of metazoan extracellular matrix is also an interest of the laboratory.