James trained in Zoology followed by a PhD in viral epidemiology, out of which developed an enduring interest in the transmission dynamics and control of human viral pathogens. A post-doc period at Imperial College was followed by two years at Oxford and then Warwick from 1995, which remains his home institution where he is a Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. His research initially centred on vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and HBV and involved collaborative studies in Ethiopia. In 2001, James’ interests shifted to the study of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) accompanying a move of scientific base to the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kilifi, Kenya. This fascinating, antigenically diverse virus – a major cause of childhood pneumonia – remains a focus of his research up to today. Currently, he heads the Virus Epidemiology and Control Research Group within the Epidemiology and Demography Department, with research support primarily from a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award.