Investigator Profile: Eddie James
HIRN New Investigator Award Recipient
►Where are you from originally, and where did you go to school?
I grew up in Denver. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado (Boulder campus) in the department of Chemical Engineering. I attended graduate school at Washington State University, where I received MS and PhD degrees in Biochemical Engineering as part of an interdisciplinary biotechnology training program.
►What is your current position?
I am an Assistant Member (equivalent to Assistant Professor) at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.
►Why did you decide to become a researcher?
Even as a kid in elementary school my goal was to have my own lab. While I was in high school my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, which shifted my interests toward heath related research.
►What is the “Big Picture” of what you study?
My research is focused on understanding the role that selection and activation of an autoreactive T cell repertoire plays in autoimmunity. My current focus investigating the recognition of post-translationally modified epitopes as an important example of how self-reactive T cells can be inappropriately activated, contributing to the progression of autoimmune disease.
► What is your favorite aspect of your research?
Although I rarely have time to do so regularly, I still enjoy working doing hands-on work at the bench. I enjoy synthesizing groups of experimental findings into a more integrated story – especially in cases where some of the results are contrary to the expected result.
► What do you hope to achieve with your research?
My ongoing projects seek to enumerate and phenotypically characterize T cells as a means of studying the natural history end etiology of autoimmune diseases, developing biomarkers to assess the efficacy of clinical interventions, and elucidating possible new avenues for therapy.
► What groups are you involved with?
The JDRF Biomarker working group. The Immunology of Diabetes Society T Cell Workshop. The NIAMS Accelerating Medicines Partnership T cell working group, and nPOD
►When not in the lab what are your favorite hobbies/activities?
I love hiking, jogging, and the outdoors. A am an avid reader and plan to write a novel if my research every slows down enough.