Jim Shorter graduated with distinction in Biology from Keble College, University of Oxford in 1995. He then joined Graham Warren's laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund at Lincoln's Inn Fields in London (now The Francis Crick Institute) where he studied the molecular mechanisms of Golgi architecture and inheritance, and received his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from University College London of The University of London in 2000.
Jim moved to the United States to continue his studies with Graham Warren between 2000 and 2002 as a Post-Doctoral fellow in the Cell Biology Department of Yale University School of Medicine. In 2002, he joined Susan Lindquist's laboratory at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT as a post-doctoral fellow, winning a Charles A. King Trust Post-Doctoral Fellowship. In 2005, he won an American Heart Association Scientist Development Award and became a Senior Research Associate at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
In April 2007, Jim became an Assistant Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he established his own group in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. In the same year he became a member of the editorial advisory panel for The Biochemical Journal and won a NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. In 2009, Jim won an Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging Award. In 2010, Jim won a Grand Challenges Explorations Award from the Gates Foundation. In 2012, Jim was selected as the seventeenth recipient of the Michael S. Brown New Investigator Research Award, which recognizes emerging faculty engaged in innovative discoveries. In 2013, Jim was promoted to Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics with tenure. In 2014, Jim won the Linda Pechenik Montague Investigator Award and became an editor of Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences. In 2016, Jim became an editor of The Biophysical Journal and The Journal of Biological Chemistry.