James obtained his MEng (Hons) degree in Chemical Engineering in 2001. For his PhD he studied the adhesion of chemically modified surfaces in relation to cationic nanoparticle gene delivery systems. James subsequently undertook a postdoctoral position studying Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquids in nanoscale adhesive junctions, funded by Unilever Research & Development.
His research focuses on the role of intermolecular interactions in nanosystems, employing techniques including atomic force microscopy, spectroscopic ellipsometry, nanoindentation, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. He has established collaborations with researchers in the biological and medical sciences, employing micro/nanometrology and micro/nanomechanical characterisation techniques in a variety of projects.
James is also Facilities Manager for the Science City Advanced Materials laboratory in the School of Chemical Engineering, a custom-built facility which houses equipment suitable for the characterisation of surfaces and materials. He has worked extensively with a wide range of companies, particularly those in the automotive, fast-moving consumer goods, and technology sectors.