Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Wilmot James is a Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) at Columbia University and an Honorary Professor of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He researches pandemic response and biosecurity, convenes high-level meetings on planetary threats, leads the Center for Pandemic Research in the College of Arts and Sciences, and is an Associate Director in the Program in Vaccine Education at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has teaching experience from the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town and post-doctoral and visiting professorial experience from Yale University, Indiana University, Edinburgh University, the Open University, and California Institute of Technology. Wilmot co-convenes the Schmidt Futures supported Columbia-Witwatersrand Vaccine Safety and Confidence-Building (VacSafe) Working Group. He serves as a senior consultant in biosecurity to the Washington DC-based Nuclear Threat Initiative Bio; as a consultant to the Africa Center for Disease Control (Africa-CDC); and is co-chair of the National Framework sub-working group of the Global Partnership’s Signature Initiative to Mitigate Biological Threats in Africa. Wilmot was previously a Member of Parliament (South Africa) and opposition spokesperson on health, trade and industry, schools, and higher education. He served on the Board of Trustees for the Ford Foundation between 1996 and 2008 and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Resolve to Save Lives. Wilmot is the author and/or editor of 17 books that include the policy-oriented Vital Signs: Health Security in South Africa (2020), Nature’s Gifts: Why We are the Way We Are (2010), and a co-edited collection of Nelson Mandela’s speeches Nelson Mandela In His Own Words (2003), given to the late President on his 85th birthday.