Wilmot James is a Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), College of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University. An academic by background with a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he was previously a Member of Parliament (South Africa) and opposition spokesperson on health. Dr. James is currently serves as Member of the Accessible Medicines Advisory Board of Chimeron Bio; Member of the Board: Resolve to Save Lives; and Co-Chair of the G7 National Frameworks Working Group - Global Partnership - Africa Signature Initiative on Biosecurity.
Wilmot is the author and/or editor of 17 books that include the policy-oriented Vital Signs: Health Security in South Africa (2020), a set of essays on the public understanding of science titled Nature’s Gifts: Why we are the way we are (2010), a coedited book Biotechnology and Health: South Africa’s aspirations in health-related biotechnology (2007) and a co-edited collection of Nelson Mandela’s presidential speeches Nelson Mandela In His Own Words (2003), the latter having the distinction of containing forwards by Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan and given to the late Nelson Mandela on his 85th birthday. Dr. James served on the Board of Trustees of the Ford Foundation between 1996-2008. He has teaching experience from the University of the Western Cape and University of Cape Town and post-doctoral and visiting professorial experience from Yale University, Indiana University, Edinburgh University and the California Institute of Technology.
At Columbia University, he teaches a (spring) course on Pandemics, Ethics and Governance at the School for Professional Studies, conducts research on children’s health security with Drs. Larry Stanberry and Philip LaRussa in the Department of Pediatrics, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and convenes high-level meetings on planetary and catastrophic risks. Wilmot serves as a senior consultant in biosecurity to the Washington DC based Nuclear Threat Initiative.