Dr. James Delos Willett has garnered the respect and admiration of scientists and educators for nearly 60 years. An integral member of the faculty at George Mason University since 1989, Dr. Willett currently serves as director of the college’s School of Systems Biology, a post he has held since 2011. Dr. Willett is also a professor in George Mason’s department of molecular and microbiology and the department of bioinformatics and computational biology. As executive director of George Mason’s biosciences department, he was instrumental in bringing biotechnology firms to Prince William County and nurturing growth for the Prince William campus. Additionally, Dr. Willett’s is the holder of eight patents, a result of his work as a researcher and software development director. One of his patents is for the separations methodology he developed for BioSyne Corporation as a research consultant and shareholder, originally made to aid animal husbandry in the dairy industry.

Dr. Willett started his career in academia in 1965 as a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry at the prestigious Stanford University. He later taught chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Idaho from 1968 to 1980. Dr. Willett made significant contributions to the National Institutes of Health, where he held a variety of roles from 1980 to 1989 including grants associate, staff assistant to the deputy director in the division of research resources, special assistant to the director, health science administrator of biomedical research models development for the animal resources program, chief of biological models and materials resources section, and chief of the office of program planning and evaluation.

Dr. Willett has been a prolific ambassador of his field as a published author, researcher and highly sought-after presenter. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD in organic chemistry earned from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965. Besides multiple inclusions in Who’s Who in America, his efforts have also been recognized by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

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