Charles, John James (1845–1912), physiologist, was born 13 December 1845, probably at Loy House, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, eldest among seven sons of David H. Charles, doctor and JP at Cookstown, and Annie E. Charles (née Allen). He attended QCB, graduating MD (1865), MA (1868), and D.Sc. h.c. (1882). He also studied in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Paris, Bonn, and Berlin; was appointed lecturer and demonstrator in anatomy in QCB; and in 1875 succeeded Joseph H. Corbett as professor of anatomy and physiology in QCC. He published a good deal on physiological and anatomical subjects, especially on oxygen and other gases in the body, including gaseous products of digestion. His lectures were concise but clear and thorough, and his dissection and practical classes were efficiently run. He was known as a strict disciplinarian, and though he was unpopular with students he contributed to establishing the reputation of the Cork medical school. He retired in 1907, and died on 10 August 1912 in Portrush, Co. Antrim, although he had been living in Clyde Road, Dublin. He left money to endow a gold medal in QCC, to be awarded alternately in anatomy and physiology.
He married first (1 July 1873) Harrietta Madeline, daughter of William W. Godfrey, former customs official, of Botanic Road, Belfast. As a widower, he married (21 December 1880) Georgina, daughter of George Smith of Newmarket, Co. Cork. He had three sons and three daughters. His brothers included Sir Richard H. Charles (qv), professor of anatomy in Lahore, India, and Robert H. Charles (qv), a Biblical scholar.