Dr. Anna Barker was former Deputy Director for Strategic Scientific Initiatives at the National Cancer Institute. At the NCI, Barker developed a number of strategic programs focused on the development of knowledge networks that emphasized innovation, publicly available data, team science, and convergence of the biological and physical sciences. Some of the programs planned and developed under her leadership included: The Cancer Genome Atlas, co-developed with the National Human Genome Research Institute to identify all genomic and molecular changes in cancer; the Nanotechnology Alliance for Cancer, a network dedicated to developing and applying nanotechnologies; and the Physical Sciences Oncology Centers that connects physicists, mathematicians, engineers and cancer scientists dedicated to developing a fundamental understanding of cancer.
Dr. Barker completed her Ph.D. at the Ohio State University, where she trained in immunology and microbiology. Her research interests include experimental therapeutics, tumor immunology, and free-radical biochemistry in cancer etiology, prevention, and treatment.
Dr. Barker has a long history in the performance and management of biomedical research, technology transfer, development and product commercialization in the nonprofit and private sectors. Her research interests have been primarily in drug discovery, development, and immunotherapy development. Prior to entering the biotechnology sector, she was a senior executive at Battelle Memorial Institute.
In the private sector, she co-founded and served as the chief executive officer of a public biotechnology therapeutics development company, and subsequently founded and led a private company dedicated to the transfer and deployment of technologies to prevent and treat cancer. She has received a number of awards for her volunteer and philanthropic activities, including a fellowship in basic science from the American Association of Cancer Research.
Dr. Barker was a co-recipient of the 2009 National Brain Tumor Society Research Excellence Award for her work on the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).