Gary James, 65, a distinguished service professor of anthropology at Binghamton University, died on Thursday, Oct. 15, according to a Binghamton University Dateline announcement.

The professor received his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in anthropology with a focus on human biology from the Pennsylvania State University. The cause of death is unknown at this time.

James joined the faculty at BU in 1999 as an adjunct professor in the anthropology department. He went on to serve the BU community as a professor of anthropology, nursing and biomedical engineering. Additionally, James was director of the Institute for Primary and Preventative Health Care since 1998 and director of the Biomedical Anthropology Program at Binghamton in 2014. In 2017, James was designated a distinguished service professor of anthropology.

James’ research focused on chronic disease and stress, human adaptability, cardiovascular disease and hypertension in women and biostatistics, according to the BU Dateline announcement. As a human population biologist, James’ area of interest, specifically, was studying stress responses in human populations.

Outside of the University, James had previously served as president of the Human Biology Association as well as president of the American Dermatoglyphics Association. James authored or co-authored over 350 peer-reviewed publications as well as served on the editorial boards of nine journals and as an ad hoc reviewer of about 40 journals. Throughout his time, James assisted residents and practicing health care providers in designing and conducting research and served as an investigator on grants from various agencies, including the National Cancer Institute and the American Heart Association.

James earned numerous awards during his time at BU, including the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008 and the Franz Boas Distinguished Achievement Award from the Human Biology Association in 2018 for his contributions to human biology in science as well as other professional service. Some of James’ other professional services includes leading the University’s Institutional Review Board for six years, directing the biomedical anthropology graduate program and advancing the First-year Research Immersion program (FRI).

James will be remembered as a dedicated member of the BU community, according to Michael Little, distinguished professor emeritus of anthropology.

“While a distinguished service professor, he was equally distinguished as a scientist and research scholar, and as an exemplary and popular teacher and mentor,” Little said.

Guru Madhavan, MBA ‘07, Ph. D. ‘09, Norman R. Augustine Senior Scholar and senior director of programs at the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, tweeted his condolences on Oct. 20.

“A patient mentor, reflective practitioner, an amazing anthropologist who, along with [American evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson] taught me how to look at complex systems — and engineering — differently,” Madhavan wrote.

Donations in James’ memory can be made to the American Heart Association at, Speak Animal Hospital at or the Broome County Humane Society at

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