James is a clinician-scientist with a longstanding focus on better understanding the biology of immune-mediated disease, and the translation of that knowledge for patient benefit. He has clinical expertise in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is an active member of the UK and International IBD Genetics Consortia.
James completed medical training at the University of Oxford (2004) and undertook his PhD at the University of Cambridge as part of the inaugural Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Programme (2008-2011). Following his PhD in Ken Smith's lab, James completed clinical training in gastroenterology as a clinical lecturer (University of Cambridge), before being awarded a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship in 2015. James spent 2 years of this award at Harvard University before returning to the University of Cambridge in 2018 to establish a research group at the newly-opened Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease. He joined the Crick as a Clinician Scientist Group Leader in 2021.
James has a track record of translating his research for clinical benefit - helping convert initial discoveries from his PhD into a prognostic biomarker that has since been validated, licensed, and made available for patients via a spin-out company. He has published over 50 research papers, including first / senior author papers in Cell, Nature Genetics, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Gut and EMBO Molecular Medicine, and co-authored papers in journals including Nature, Cell, Nature Immunology and Journal of Experimental Medicine. James' work has provided insights into why patients with the same disease often experience different outcomes, including the discovery of a genetic contribution to prognosis that is distinct from the contribution to disease susceptibility. More recently, James' group have developed approaches to leverage genetic associations to provide insights into disease mechanisms.
In 2014, James was named as the inaugural "Young Gastroenterologist of the Year - Clinical and Translational Science" by the British Society of Gastroenterology and has since been awarded the Julia Bodmer Award (European Federation of Immunogenetics, 2017), the Sir Francis Avery-Jones Medal (British Society of Gastroenterology, 2018), and the United European Gastroenterology Society Rising Star Award (2018). He is an editorial board member at Gut and Research Awards Panel member for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.