B.S. Oglethorpe University, 1995M.S. University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1999Ph.D. University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2003Post-Doc University of Washington and the Hope Heart Institute, 2003-2004 and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 2004-2006
"We develop therapeutics to fibrosis, or scar formation. While scars of the skin might be unsightly, scars in organs, like the lung, kill people."
Thomas H. Barker, Professor
Dr. Barker explores and therapeutically exploits the fundamental links between fibroblast adaptation to their physical and biochemical microenvironment and their myofibroblastic differentiation during tissue repair, fibrosis and cancer.
Dr. Barker is a Professor in Biomedical Engineering in the Schools of Engineering and Medicine at the University of Virginia. He performed his academic and scientific training with Drs. James Hagood, Joanne Murhpy-Ullrich, Helene Sage, and Jeffrey Hubbell prior to his first faculty post at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he spend 10 years as an Assistant and Associate Professor. Dr. Barker’s research integrates engineering and quantitative approaches with basic cell and molecular biology to understand and control cell phenotype through their interactions with natural and engineered extracellular matrices. Dr. Barker is also focused on understanding the fundamental roles of cell mechanotransduction and mechanical forces in regulating the biochemical activity of proteins in the extracellular matrix toward wound repair, regeneration, and fibrosis. Dr. Barker has established a number of fundamental systems based on rational mutagenesis, molecular evolution of extracellular matrix protein fragments and antibodies that allow both basic biochemical and cell biological studies on the ECM and detection and treatment of organ fibrosis. Dr. Barker has co-authored research and review papers in leading cell biology, matrix biology, and biomaterials journals, he received the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award in 2015. Dr. Barker was also the recipient of the American Society for Matrix Biology’s Young Investigator Award in 2012 and Iozzo Award in 2016.
NASA Space Fellow, GSRP, Division of Physical and Biological Sciences, NASA HQ2002
Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow, NIGMS2004
Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award, Health Effects Institute2008
American Society for Matrix Biology, Young Investigator Award2012
NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award2015
American Society for Matrix Biology, Iozzo Award2016
College of Fellows, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering2017
Dynamic assembly of ultrasoft colloidal networks enables cell invasion within restrictive fibrillar networks. PNAS (2017) Douglas AM, Hyatt JS, Gaines M, Lyon LA, Fernandez-Nieves A, Barker TH.
Ultrasoft microgels displaying emergent platelet-like behaviors. Nature Materials doi: 10.1038/nmat4066, (2014) Brown AC, Stabenfeldt SE, Ahn B, Hannan RT, Dhada KS, Herman ES, Stefanelli V, Guzzetta N, Alexeev A, Lam WA, Lyon LA, Barker TH.
Dynamic catch of a Thy-1-a5b1-syndecan-4 trimolecular complex. Nature Communications 5:4886 (2014) Fiore VF, Ju L, Chen Y, Zhu C, Barker TH.
Conformational coupling of integrin and Thy-1 regulates Fyn priming and fibroblast mechanotransduction. J Cell Biol 211(1):173-90 (2015) Fiore VF, Strane PW, Bryksin AV, White ES, Hagood JS, Barker TH.
Acellular Normal and Fibrotic Human Lung Matrices as a Culture System for In Vitro Investigation. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 186(9):866-76 (2012) Booth, AJ, Hadley R, Cornett AM, Dreffs AA, Matthes SA, Tsui JL, Weiss K, Horowitz JC, Fiore VF, Barker TH, Moore BB, Martinez FJ, Niklason LE, White ES.