James completed a PhD on structural glycobiology in trypanosomatid parasites at the University of Dundee, before moving to the University of Melbourne in 2006. Here, he expanded these interests into developing novel techniques in order to study the metabolism of apicomplexan parasites, including Toxoplasma gondii and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. This mass spectrometry-based metabolism research has now grown into a field in its own right – metabolomics.
Since 2013 James has been of Head of Metabolomics at the Francis Crick Institute, where he develops new tools for metabolomics research in a number of areas (e.g. cancer metabolism, heart disease, mitochondrial dysfunction), while maintaining interests in host-parasite metabolism.