James received his B.A. from the University of Cambridge in 2017, where he studied Natural Sciences, with a focus on chemistry. He then completed an M.Sc. by research at the University of York in 2018, supervised by Dr. Victor Chechik. In 2019 he started his doctoral studies at ETH Zürich, as part of the deMello group, in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences in the lab of Dr. Josep Puigmarti-Luis. In August 2020, he moved to the University of Barcelona as part of the ChemInFlow group to continue his research, remaining a doctoral candidate at ETH, and co-supervised by Prof. Andrew deMello, Prof. Josep Puigmartí-Luis and Dr. Alessandro Sorrenti.

During his MSc project, his work focussed on studying the host–guest chemistry of coordination cages using EPR spectroscopy. By introducing stable nitroxide radical species as guests inside the cages and observing differences between the EPR signals of bound and unbound guest molecules, information about the binding environment of the cages, and the host-guest interactions between the cages and radical species, could be determined.

His doctoral research interests include the investigation of dissipative non-equilibrium systems and the development of functional materials through design and synthesis of porous supramolecular networks. These aims will be pursued using microfluidic techniques, investigating pathway selection in the formation of such networks, and studying the assembly and disassembly behaviour and how it may be controlled.