Profile: James McCullagh


Co-opted to Board of Trustees May 2020
Vice Chair of the Leadership, Management and Communications committee
Vice Chair of the Finance and Resources committee

Key Skills

Leadership and management
Communication and negotiation
Strategy, resource planning and problem solving


“I started Class 1 at Wynstones on a damp autumnal day in 1982. A strange new place, but I remember the teacher’s passion for a nurturing and caring education that endured for the next 12 years. I had a love of sports, creative writing, chess and science but a particular interest in chemistry emerged during this time.

“After Class 12, and a year in Africa working with street children in Tanzania, I went on to study Natural Sciences at Durham University followed by a Masters in Medical Anthropology at University College London. In 2000 I started working for Micromass, a relatively small company which pioneered the development of mass spectrometry, now one of the most important analytical techniques in chemical and biochemical research. Working for Micromass took me all around the world teaching and training at research laboratories in universities and industry. I had a fascinating time but just as with my journey to Africa, it was a stepping stone to something new.

“In 2003 I was awarded a studentship to pursue a D.Phil. in Mass Spectrometry at University College Oxford. This led to an incredibly exciting time; honing my critical thinking, studying hard, buying my first house, and meeting my future wife. Amongst many things, my doctorate showed me the immense enjoyment that can be found in scientific discovery and in seeing the world in new ways for the first time, a thrill that has stayed with me and sustained my career.

“I am now Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Oxford and run a busy research group focussed on understanding metabolism in disease through which I collaborate with other groups around the world. I feel incredibly privileged to find myself where I am today, enjoying every minute of what I do but it does not take much reflection to realise the journey started back at Wynstones with the freedom to play and discover the world around me. Inherent in the precarious times the school now faces I feel a duty to do what I can to enable future generations of students to be able to look back at Wynstones, as I do now, with pride and gratitude.”