Professor Robert Barker

Chair in Medicine & Therapeutics


Professor Robert Barker

Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 437353
Fax: +44 (0)1224 437506
Address: Room 3.25 Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD


Professor Barker qualified as a veterinary surgeon from the University of Bristol, where he first became attracted to immunology while undertaking an intercalated degree in cellular pathology. After a period in general practice he returned to academia, gaining a PhD in autoimmune disease from the University of Bristol. His interest in immunology developed further with the award of a Wellcome Trust Fellowship, which allowed him to exploit a unique approach to the study of immune-mediated diseases, using red blood cells as model target antigens. In 1996, Professor Barker accepted a Lectureship in Aberdeen and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000, to Reader in 2003, and now holds a personal Chair in Immunology. He has served as Head of the Immunology Research Programme and Deputy Director of the Institute of Medical Sciences, and now leads the Immune Regulation Research Group.

Professor Barker is currently a Trustee of the British Society for Immunology; the Groups' Secretary of the British Society for Immunology; a British Society for Immunology Autoimmunity Affinity Group Committee Member; a British Society for Immunology Regional Group Chair (Aberdeen Immunology Group); and a Scottish Immunology Group committee member.  In the past he has served as Chair of the British Society for Immunology Council; a British Society for Immunology Journals Committee Member; a British Society for Immunology Meetings Committee member; a director of Triangle 3 (British Society for Immunology Trading Company); and has represented the British Society for Immunology at the International Union of Immunological Societies Council.  He has also served as a member of the Research Committee of the Arthritis and Rheumatism Campaign; a member of the Editorial Board of the Open Pathology Journal; a member of the Association for Comparative Haematology; and is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Research Interests

Since arriving in Aberdeen as lecturer in immunology in 1996, he has extended the approach to the study of immune-mediated diseases, using red blood cells as model target antigens to further understanding of the pathogenesis of a number of diseases in which the immune system plays an important role, including autoimmune haemolytic anaemia; haemolytic disease of the newborn; immune-mediated thrombocytopenia; Goodpasture’s disease; bullous skin diseases; atopy and asthma; viral and tumour immune evasion. The aim is to be able to control these diseases by manipulating immune regulation, particularly as mediated by regulatory T lymphocytes, and a number of projects are now undergoing commercial development for human trials.


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