James C. Hu, long time professor at Texas A&M Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, died in his home in College Station, Texas, on January 23, 2020, from complications of liver disease.
Jim was born in Berkeley, California, and grew up in Palo Alto, California. A graduate of Palo Alto High School and Stanford University (Fear the tree!) with a BS in Biology. He earned his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!). He worked as a post-doctoral fellow at MIT prior to establishing his own lab and career at Texas A&M (Gig 'em Aggies!). Along with his work in microbial genomics and community annotation, Jim was known as a thoughtful and supportive colleague who was generous with his time and energy. He loved teaching and interacting with students - mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in the lab, at meetings, in collaborative projects - but also in the kitchen creating gastronomic feasts, watching sporting events, or indulging his cats.
Jim is survived by the most important person in his life- his wife, life partner, friend, and scientific collaborator, Dr. Deborah Siegele, also a professor at Texas A&M in the Department of Biology. Debby and Jim are known to generations of students and colleagues as the rare couple who collaborate at work and at home in constant symbiosis yet with fierce independence. He is also survived by his sister, Diana Hu, a pediatrician in Tuba City, Arizona. Jim was blessed to have loving in-laws, nieces and nephews, and a grandniece and nephews.
Jim was known for his laid-back sense of time (when did that meeting start?), quirky sense of humor (creator of a comic strip during his Stanford years), eclectic tastes in music (opera, Fred Astaire, and rhythm & blues), fanatic consumption of sports of all kinds (especially A&M women's basketball) and the constant search for the best exotic restaurant in any city. He has been fortunate to be surrounded by equally passionate colleagues, friends, and family in his life. A celebration of Jim's life will be held in a few months.
In lieu of flowers, Debby and the family request that donations be made to Bat Conservation International (batcon.org) or the Institute for Justice (ij.org).