“I am humbled and immensely honored to receive this distinguished award. As a translational immunologist and practicing rheumatologist, our work focuses on understanding the pathogenesis, prediction, prevention and precision treatment of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases,” says Dr. James. “I greatly appreciate the amazing students, house staff, fellows and faculty members who have worked with me on these projects and especially to our brave patients, who battle these disorders and have been gracious partners in studying these diseases.”
Dr. James was the first graduate of the University of Oklahoma MD-PhD program. She completed her internal medicine residency and rheumatology fellowship at OUHSC, as well as undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral training at OMRF.
Her research interests focus on understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and related disorders, the evolution and pathogenic mechanisms of autoantibodies in systemic rheumatic disease, the interplay of genetic risk and environmental responses in systemic autoimmunity and unique drivers of disease severity in Native American autoimmune rheumatic disease patients. Her work has made seminal contributions to understanding how autoimmune diseases start and the concept of humoral epitope spreading. She has published over 330 articles.
Dr. James currently serves as the principal investigator for several large, multi-investigator NIH grants, such as the Oklahoma Shared Clinical & Translational Resources (National Institute of General Medical Sciences), Autoimmunity Center of Excellence (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases (Foundation for the National Institutes of Health/NIH), and Rheumatic Diseases Research Core Center (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases [NIAMS]).
Over the years, Dr. James has served on many ACR committees, including Government Affairs, annual meeting abstract review panels and planning committees. She has also served on Rheumatology Research Foundation review panels, including as chair of the Research Committee and on the Board of Directors.
Dr. James has received several prestigious awards, including her recent election to the National Academy of Medicine, the U.S. government’s Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Edmund L. Dubois, MD, Memorial Lectureship from the ACR and the Foundation, the Evelyn Hess Award for outstanding lupus research from the Lupus Foundation of America and the Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award from the American Society for Clinical Investigation.
She was a member of NIAMS Council and served as the elected secretary-treasurer of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. She was recently elected to the Association of American Physicians.