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Scientist Emeritus

Jeffery L. Barker, M.D.

Laboratory of Neurophysiology

Building 49 Room 2A20
49 Convent Drive MSC4479
Bethesda MD 20892-4123
Office: (301) 496-2414
Lab: (301) 496-2414
Fax: (301) 402-1565

Dr. Jeffery Barker graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude and from the Boston University School of Medicine where he was president of the school’s honor society. After a surgical internship in Boston he came to the NINDS IRP in 1969 as a PHS Research Fellow and embarked on a neuroscience career, training primarily with Drs. Roger Nicoll (NIMH), Hal Gainer (NICHD) and Tom Smith (NINDS). Dr. Barker received tenure (1973), later became Chief of the NINDS Laboratory of Neurophysiology (1981) and retired as Scientist Emeritus (2012). He published 289 peer-reviewed and 83 invited papers, edited 8 books and monographs, presented 200 invited lectures and organized 14 national and international symposia. He served twice on the Society for Neuroscience Program Committee and was President of its Potomac Chapter. He also chaired the NINDS Tenure and Promotion Committee. Honors included three PHS Commendation and Meritorious Service Medals, the BUSM Distinguished Alumnus Award, three Grass Traveling Lectureships and four keynote addresses at the Marine Biology Laboratory, Duke University, Ben-Gurion University and the University of Cardiff.

Dr. Barker initially studied chemical and electrical forms of neuronal excitability in vitro using invertebrate and vertebrate model systems. Some of the more highly-cited results include pacemaker potential mechanisms of invertebrate neurons and their neurohormonal regulation by peptides, and opioid peptide modulation of excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter signals in cultured mammalian CNS neurons without change in membrane conductance (“neuromodulation”). He used biophysical methods to quantify the elementary electrical properties of receptor-ion channels activated by inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitters and formed unique properties for each, giving rise to different signals. This lead to identification of specific general anesthetics, anticonvulsants, tranquilizers and convulsants that could modulate receptor-channels and synaptic signals, as well as naturally occurring steroid metabolites that mimicked the potentiating actions of barbiturates. His laboratory collaborated with NICHHD neuroscientists to show that an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter receptor subtype activated Ca2A entry via cation-selective channels. He initiated the use of fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) to identify and isolate specific phenotypes during CNS development and used fluorescent indicator dyes to reveal the progressive appearance and distribution of excitable membrane properties and mechanisms to regulate cytoplasmic Ca2A levels among neural stem isolation, progenitor and differentiating cell populations. Using FACS isolation and culture the roles for different peptide growth factors and their receptors in proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation were revealed. The FACS initiative led to the FACS Core Facility serving many IRP programs of NINDS and other institutes.

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  • 1) Fiorio Pla A, Maric D, Giacobini P, Brazer SC, Liu X, Chang YH, Ambudkar IS, Barker JL (2005)
  • TRPC1 plays a role in bFGF/FGFR-1-induced Ca2+ entry and rat neural stem cell proliferation
  • J. Neuroscience , 25, 2687-2701
  • 2) Ma W, Chen S, Fitzgerald W, Maric D, Lin HJ, O'Shaughnessy TJ, Barker JL (2004)
  • Three dimensional collagen gel networks for stem cell-based neural tissue engineering
  • Proceedings of the Polymer Networks 2004 Conference
  • 3) Ma W, Fitzgerald W, Liu QY, O'Shaughnessy TJ, Maric D, Lin HJ, Alkon DL, Barker JL (2004)
  • CNS stem and progenitor cell differentiation into functional neuronal circuits in three-dimensional collagen gels
  • Experimental Neurology , 190, 276-288
  • 4) Maric D, Barker JL (2004)
  • Neural stem cells redefined: a FACS perspective
  • Molecular Neurobiology , 30, 49-76
  • 5) Barker JL (2004)
  • GABA as a neurotransmitter and neurogenic signal.
  • Encyclopedia of Life Sciences/Nature
  • 6) Maric D, Barker JL (2004)
  • FACS sorting of neural stem cells and progenitors
  • Current Protocols in Neuroscience
  • 7) Maric D, Maric I, Chang YH and Barker JL (2003)
  • Prospective cell sorting of neural stem cells and neuronal and glial progenitors reveals selective effects of bFGF and EGF on self-renewal and lineage progression.
  • J Neuroscience , 23, 240-251
  • 8) Vautrin J, Barker JL (2003)
  • Presynaptic quantal plasticity: Katz’s original hypothesis revisited
  • Synapse , 47, 184-199
  • 9) Ma W, Li B-S, Maric D, Zhao W-Q, Lin HJ, Zhang L, Pant H, Barker JL (2003)
  • Ethanol blocks both bFGF- and carbachol-mediated neuroepithelial cell expansion with differential effects on carbachol-activated signaling pathways
  • Neuroscience, 118, 37-47
  • 10) Lorenz JL, Lorenz MG, Barker JL (2003)
  • Pixel-based criteria-orientated analysis of time-lapse Ca2+ fluorescence images
  • J. Neuroscience Methods , 127, 157-166
  • 11) Liu Q-Y, Chang YH, Schaffner AE, Smith SV, Barker JL (2002)
  • Allopregnanolone activates GABA(A) receptor/Cl— channels in a multiphasic manner in embryonic rat hippocampal neurons
  • J. Neurophysiology , 88, 1147-1158
  • 12) Sukhareva M, Smith SV, Maric D, Barker JL (2002)
  • Functional properties of ryanodine receptors in hippocampal neurons change during early differentiation in culture
  • J. Neurophysiology , 88, 1077-1087
  • 13) Behar TN, Smith SV, Kennedy RT, McKenzie JM, Maric I, Barker JL (2001)
  • GABAB receptors mediate motility signals for migrating embryonic cortical cells
  • Cerebral Cortex , 11, 744-753
  • 14) Maric D, Liu Q-Y, Maric I, Chaudry S, Chang Y-H, Smith SV, Sieghart W, Fritschy J-M and Barker JL (2001)
  • GABA expression dominates neuronal lineage progression in the embryonic rat neocortex and facilitates neurite outgrowth via GABA(A) autoreceptor/Cl-channels.
  • J Neuroscience , 21, 2343-2360
  • 15) Li B-S, Ma W, Zhang L, Barker JL, Stenger DA, Pant HC (2001)
  • Activation of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (P1-3K) and extracellular regulated kinases (Erk 1/2) is involved in muscrinic receptor-mediated DNA synthesis in neural progenitor cells
  • J. Neurosci, 21, 1569-1579
  • 16) O'Connor SM, Stenger DA, Shaffer KM, Maric D, Barker JL and Ma W (2000)
  • Primary neural precursor cell expansion, differentiation and cytosolic Ca2+ response in three-dimensional gel
  • J. Neurosci. Methods , 102, 187-195
  • 17) Maric D, Liu Q-Y, Hu Q, Chang Y-H, Barker JL, Grant GM, Andreadis JD, Pancrazzio JJ, Stenger DA, Ma W (2000)
  • Functional ionotropic glutamate receptors emerge during terminal cell division and early neuronal differentiation in rat neuroepithelial cells
  • J. Neurosci. Res, 61, 652-662
  • 18) Ma W, Maric D, Li BS, Hu Q, Andreadis JD, Grant GM, Liu QY, Shaffer KM, Chang YH, Zhang L, Pancrazio JJ, Pant HC, Stenger DA, Barker JL (2000)
  • Acetylcholine stimulates cortical precursor cell proliferation in vitro via muscarinic receptor activation and MAP kinase phosphorylation
  • Eur J Neurosci , 12, 1-1240
  • 19) Behar TN, Schaffner AE, Scott CA, Green CL, Barker JL (2000)
  • GABA receptor antagonists modulate postmitotic cell migration in slice cultures of embryonic rat cortex
  • Cerebral Cortex , 10, 899-909
  • 20) Maric D, Maric I, Chang YH, Barker JL (2000)
  • Stereotypical physiological properties emerge during early neuronal and glial lineage development in the embryonic rat neocortex.
  • Cerebral Cortex, 10, 729-747
  • 21) Ma W, Maric D, Li BS, Hu Q, Andreadis JD, Grant GM, Liu QY, Shaffer KM, Chang YH, Zhang L, Pancrazio JJ, Pant HC, Stenger DA, Barker JL. (2000)
  • Acetylcholine stimulates cortical precursor cell proliferation in vitro via muscarinic receptor activation and MAP kinase phosphorylation.
  • Eur J Neurosci, 12, 1227-1240
  • 22) Maric D, Maric I, Barker JL (2000)
  • Developmental changes in cell calcium homeostasis during neurogenesis of the embryonic rat cerebral cortex.
  • Cerebral Cortex, 10, 561-573
  • 23) Liu Q-Y, Schaffner AE, Chang Y-H, Maric D, Barker JL (2000)
  • Persistent activation of GABAA receptor/Cl--channels by astrocyte-derived GABA in cultured embryonic rat hippocampal neurons
  • J. Neurophysiol, 84, 1392-1403
  • 24) Vautrin J, Maric D, Sukhareva M, Schaffner AE and Barker JL (2000)
  • Surface-Accessible GABA Supports Tonic and Quantal Synaptic Transmission
  • Synapse , 37, 38-55
  • 25) Barker JL, Behar TN, Ma W, Maric D, Maric I (2000)
  • GABA emerges as a developmental signal during neurogenesis of the rat CNS
  • GABA in the Nervous System: the view at 50 years , 245-264
  • 26) Maric D, Maric I, Barker JL (2000)
  • Dual video microscopic imaging of membrane potential and cytosolic calcium of immunoidentified embryonic rat cortical cells
  • Methods: A Companion to Methods in Enzymology , 21, 335-347
  • 27) Behar T, Scott CA, Greene CL, Wen X-L, Smith SV, Maric D, Liu Q-Y, Colton CA, Barker JL (1999)
  • Glutamate acting at NMDA receptors stimulates embryonic cortical neuronal migration
  • J. Neurosci, 19, 4449-4461
  • 28) Li Y-X, Schaffner AE, Barker JL (1999)
  • Astrocytes regulate the developmental appearance of GABAergic and glutamatergic transients in cultured embryonic rat spinal neurons
  • Euro. J. Neurosci, 11, 2537-2551
  • 29) Maric D, Maric I, Wen X-L, Fritschy J-M, Sieghart W, Barker JL, Serafini R (1999)
  • GABAA receptor subunit composition and functional properties of Cl-channels with differential sensitivity to zolpidem in embryonic rat hippocampal cells
  • J. Neurosci, 19, 4921-4937
  • 30) Maric D, Maric I, Smith SV, Serafini R, Hu Q, Barker JL (1998)
  • Potentiometric study of resting potential, contributing K+ channels and the onset of Na+ channel excitability in embryonic rat cortical cells
  • Euro. J. Neurosci, 10, 2532-2546
  • 31) Ma W, Liu Q-Y, Maric D, Sathanoori R, Chang Y-H, Barker JL (1998)
  • Basic FGF-responsive telencephalic precursor cells express functional GABAA receptor/Cl- channels in vitro
  • J. Neurobiol, 35, 277-286
  • 32) Serafini R, Ma W, Maric D, Maric I, Lahjouji F, Sieghart W, Barker JL (1998)
  • Initially expressed early rat embryonic GABAA receptor Cl- ion channels exhibit heterogeneous channel properties Euro
  • J. Neurosci, 10, 1771-1783
  • 33) Li Y-X, Schaffner A, Walton MK, Barker JL (1998)
  • Astrocytes regulate developmental changes in the chloride ion gradient of embryonic rat ventral spinal cord neurons in culture
  • J. Physiol, 509, 847-858
  • 34) Liu Q-Y, Schaffner A, Barker JL (1998)
  • Electrophysiological studies on receptors
  • In Vitro Neuromethods , 34, 37-61
  • 35) Maric D, Maric I, Barker JL (1998)
  • Flow cytometric strategies to study CNS development
  • Neuromethods, 33, 287-318
  • 36) Maric D, Maric I, Barker JL (1998)
  • Buoyant density gradient fractionation and flow cytometric analysis of embryonic rat cortical neurons and progenitor cells
  • Methods: Techniques for the Purification, Functional Evaluation and Transplantation of Brain Ce, 16, 247-259
  • 37) Valeyev AY, Mahan LC, Skolnick P, Smallwood V, Wong G, Barker JL (1998)
  • Embryonic rat hippocampal neurons and GABAA receptor subunit-transfected non-neuronal cells release GABA tonically
  • J. Mem. Biol, 164, 239-251
  • 38) Behar T, Schaffner A, Scott C, O'Connell C, Barker JL (1998)
  • Differential response of cortical plate and ventricular zone cells to GABA as a migration stimulus
  • J. Neurosci, 18 (16), 6378-6387
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