Anna D. Barker, PhD

In her role as Co-Director of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) at ASU, Dr. Barker designs and 
implements transformative knowledge networks that are specifically directed toward understanding 
and solving major problems in biomedicine. These multi- sector networks serve as an organizing 
construct to enable the convergence of knowledge, innovative teams and novel funding approaches to 
better prevent and treat acute and chronic disease. A national effort in biomarker development (the 
National Biomarker Development Alliance – NBDA) was created using this model. The mission of the 
NBDA is to enable the creation of standards-based “end-to-end solutions to enable biomarker 
development. More recently she has focused knowledge from the NBDA processes on the creation of 
innovative biomarker-driven clinical trials for rare diseases.

Prior to joining ASU, Dr. Barker served as the Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute 
(NCI) and as the NCI’s Deputy Director for Strategic Scientific Initiatives from 2002 until her 
retirement in 2010. Dr. Barker led the planning, development and implementation of a number of 
strategic scientific and advanced technology initiatives and novel partnerships that emphasize 
innovation, trans-disciplinary teams and convergence of scientific disciplines to enable progress 
against cancer. These programs also stress the synergy of large scale and individual initiated 
research, precompetitive research and public databases and translation of discoveries into new 
interventions to detect prevent and treat cancer more effectively.

At the NCI Dr. Barker collaborated on the planning and implementation for the Institute’s major 
initiative in bioinformatics (the Cancer Bioinformatics Grid); planned and initiated an NCI wide 
program to establish biospecimen standards and best practices; and planned and launched the Clinic 
Proteomics Technology Initiative for Cancer focused on the development, standardization and 
deployment of technologies, reagents and protocols to enable the reproducible identification of 
protein cancer biomarkers. She also co- developed The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pilot and 
full-scale programs jointly with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). TCGA’s long 
term goal is to define all significant genetic changes in most if not all cancers. In addition, 
under her leadership the NCI planned and deployed an integrated network of nanotechnology centers, 
the Nanotechnology Alliance for Cancer, working in areas ranging from a new generation of 
diagnostics to drug delivery and imaging. Dr. Barker also led a multi-year effort to enable the 
convergence of the physical sciences (physics, mathematics, physical chemistry and engineering) 
with cancer biology. Launched in 2009, the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers network is providing 
a unique opportunity for physical scientists and cancer biologists to collaboratively study cancer 
at a fundamental level across scales. All of these programs broadly engage the extramural cancer 
research communities.

Dr. Barker served as the co-founding chair, along with the FDA, of the NCI-FDA Interagency Oncology 
Task Force (IOTF). The focus of the IOTF is the identification of scientific and process gaps in 
the regulatory pathways for cancer interventions –and joint science-based approaches to addressing 
these barriers. The IOTF achieved a number of
milestones including the exploratory IND. She was also founding co-chair of the  Cancer

Steering Committee of the FNIH Biomarkers Consortium (FNIH-BC); and among other achievements, 
oversaw and supported the design and implementation of the ISPY2 trial. Dr. Barker also led the 
development of the NCI’s international efforts including strategic international research 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 executive at 
Battelle Memorial Institute for 18 years where she developed and led large groups of scientists and 
technical staff working in drug discovery and development, pharmacology, clinical trials and 
biotechnology, including several NCI sponsored research programs. As a Senior Vice and Group 
President at Battelle, she pioneered several programs in cancer research in collaboration with the 
NCI, including the use of advanced research models for evaluating new drug candidates and novel 
models for pharmacologic and toxicological evaluation. In the private sector, she was a co-founder 
and CEO of a public biotechnology company focused on diagnostics and experimental therapeutics 
development of novel agents to control reactive oxygen damage in inflammatory diseases and cancer.

She has served as: a member of the National Coalition of Cancer Research; a Partner and member of 
the Board of Directors of C-Change; chairperson of the C-Change Cancer Research Team; founding 
member of the Department of Defense (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) Integration Panel 
and chairperson of the BCRP Integration Panel; in a number of capacities for the American 
Association for Cancer Research (AACR), including the Board of Directors and chairperson of the 
Public Science Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee for over 10 years; a member of the NCI’s 
Board of Scientific Counselors, Division of Cancer Etiology, and chairperson of the Cancer Center 
Support Review Study Section; member of private boards of directors; and in varying capacities for 
a number of additional organizations.

Dr. Barker has received a number of awards for her contributions to cancer research, cancer 
patients, professional and advocacy organizations and the Nation’s effort to prevent and cure 
cancer, including: the 2009 AACR Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements 
in Cancer Research, AACR 100th Anniversary Meeting; Frances Prescott Award for Breast Cancer 
Research and Advocacy, Vanderbilt University; Named Fellowship Award (Anna D. Barker Basic Science 
Fellowship), American Association for Cancer Research; and the Friends of Cancer Research Public 
Service Award. Dr. Barker completed her M.A. and Ph.D. at the Ohio State University, where she 
trained in immunology and microbiology. Her research interests include complex adaptive
n  disease,  biomarkers,  innovative  clinical trials,
immunology, and free-radical biochemistry in cancer etiology and treatment