James Fox, DVM, MS, DACLAM

​AVMA Members Working to Advance Animal and Human Health through Research

Director, Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor, Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Adjunct Professor, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine
Adjunct Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Educational Background

Graduated in '68 from Colorado State University with my DVM. Earned my MS in Medical Microbiology from Stanford with an NIH supported postdoctoral fellowship. Currently, Director, Division of Comparative Medicine at MIT, Professor, Department of Biological Engineering at MIT. Also, Adjunct Professor at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, a Cocker Spaniel. When the children were growing up we had multiple dogs, horses, birds, fish, and turtles!

What is the focus of your research?

The focus of my research is the epidemiology and pathogenesis of enterohepatic helicobacters in humans and animals. My research has allowed us to identify, name, and describe many of the diseases attributed to various Helicobacter species; most notably their association with hepatitis, liver tumors, inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.

What is the scientific and clinical significance of your research?

My laboratory has described the pivotal role that Helicobacter spp. play in the development of cholesterol gallstones in mice fed a lithogenic diet; thus linking that finding to my earlier description of Helicobacter spp. associated chronic cholecystitis and gallstones in Chilean women, a population at high risk of developing gallbladder cancer. I also have a long-standing interest in zoonotic diseases as well as biosafety issues associated with in vivo models.

What do you find most enjoyable about research?

My 45 year career in research funded by NIH has been exciting and stimulating throughout and training over 70 DVMs for similar careers has been very rewarding.

What advice do you have for veterinarians considering a career in biomedical research?

Self-motivation is key to thriving in this environment, a passion for what you're conducting research on, and that your discoveries will be meaningful for science in general, and hopefully will increase the health and welfare of both humans and animals. Persistence and focus are key elements in success and satisfaction. Being excited about going to work every day is also important.

See how other AVMA members are advancing animal and human health