Anna Barker

Co-Director, Complex Adaptive Systems Center, ASU

Dr. Barker recently joined Arizona State University to plan and direct efforts in transformative knowledge networks – specifically directed toward addressing major problems in healthcare. The Transformative Healthcare Networks initiative (THN) will serve as a foundation for the development of new research models that leverage convergent knowledge, innovative teams and novel funding approaches to better prevent and treat acute and chronic diseases. She also serves as Co-Director of a major ASU initiative in complex adaptive systems research. The Complex Adaptive System Initiative (CASI) serves as an organizing construct to approach understanding and solving multi-dimensional problems in the biological and social sciences. Prior to joining ASU, Dr. Barker served as the Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and as Deputy Director for Strategic Scientific Initiatives for eight years – retiring in 2010. While Deputy, she developed and implemented multi/trans-disciplinary programs in strategic areas of cancer research and advanced technologies including: the Nanotechnology Alliance for Cancer; The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) – in collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute; and the Clinical Proteomics Technologies Initiative for Cancer. Dr. Barker also led the development of a network of trans-disciplinary centers (Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers – PS-OCs) that integrate the physical and biological sciences to better understand cancer across scales. All of these programs emphasize innovation, transdisciplinary teams and convergence of scientific disciplines to enable progress against cancer. They also stress the synergy of large scale and individual initiated research, precompetitive research, public databases and clinical to more effectively detect prevent and treat cancer. Dr. Barker also led and collaborated on NCI’s development efforts in biospecimens and bioinformatics (the Cancer Human Biobank (caHUB) and the Cancer Bioinformatics Grid (caBIG, respectively) to support molecularly based personalized medicine. She was the founding co-chair of the NCI-FDA Interagency Task Force; founding co-chair of the Cancer Steering Committee of the FNIH Biomarker Consortium; and oversaw the NCI’s international cancer research programs, including pilot programs in Latin America and China. Dr. Barker has a long history in research and the leadership and management of research and development in the academic, non-profit and private sectors. She served as a senior scientist and subsequently as a senior executive at Battelle Memorial Institute for 18 years; and cofounded and served as the CEO of a public biotechnology drug development company. She has received a number of awards for her work in support of cancer research, cancer patients, professional and advocacy organizations and the ongoing national effort to prevent and cure cancer. Most recently she received the 2009 AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, AACR 100th Anniversay Meeting; and in 2009 Dr. Barker was named to the list of "The 100 People Changing America" by Rolling Stone Magazine.

Interview: Cancer 2014: The Year in Review with Anna Barker

Listen to an interview with Anna