Dr. Judith James-Wood is the Lou Kerr Chair in Biomedical Research and a Member at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. She is also professor of medicine and adjunct professor of pathology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The Pond Creek, Oklahoma, native graduated from OBU summa cum laude with honors in 1989. She went on to receive her medical doctorate and doctorate of philosophy degree in immunology with honors from OUHSC. She is a board certified internist and rheumatologist practicing in Oklahoma City.
James has received numerous awards and honors, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, which was presented to her in Washington D.C. in 2000. She also received the Merck Young Investigator Award the same year in New York City. In 2007 she received the Dubois Award for outstanding research in systemic lupus erythematosus. She has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Henry Kunkel Society. She has testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee, as one of only five research scientists in the Nobel Laureates Hearing.
Her research focuses on the initiation, perpetuation and pathogenesis of systemic rheumatic diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. She has published more than 80 papers in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Medicine and the Journal of Experimental Medicine. She has lectured throughout the world at regional, national and international conferences in locations including London, Jerusalem, Boston, Orlando, and Seattle.
"OBU has been incredibly influential in not only my career choice but in making my career possible," she said while preparing to write this article for the Legacy Society Newsletter. "Drs. Canham, Mills, and Hurley - as well as many other OBU faculty outside science - nurtured my interests in academics and challenged me to think critically and broadly about research problems.
"I gained my first research experiences at OBU and these led to my selection as an OMRF Fleming Scholar. Those experiences opened the door to the MD-PhD program and laid the foundation for my career in clinical investigation. In addition, OBU provided me with life-long friends who to this day continue to push me to strive for excellence in all areas of my life."
Judith and her husband, Glen, who teaches in Edmond, have a nine-year-old daughter, Rebecca. They are active members of Quail Springs Baptist Church.