James had his first exposure to laboratory research as a twenty-year old when he began working as a technician at the Columbia University Comprehensive Cancer Center. He eventually earned his doctorate in Biochemistry from New York University. His training focused on cancer biology and gene expression. Specifically he looked at mutation in cancer cells using the then relatively new Polymerase Chain Reaction technique that allows one to mass-produce copies of a DNA sample from small amounts of starting material. These mutations could influence gene expression in a way that leads to disease. His recent work has focused on chemical modification of proteins in plants and the role these changes have in the control of cell growth. Specifically, he examined the effects of acetylation on Methionine Synthase. Plants can’t grow are control gene expression without this enzyme. He has been a professor at Bloomfield College since 1994.
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