Renowned biomedical engineer and former BIO5 Institute assistant director Jennifer Barton, PhD, has been named interim director of the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona. Barton follows Fernando D. Martinez, MD, who recently was named inaugural director of the UA Health Sciences’ Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center.
Barton will lead BIO5 while a search is conducted for a permanent director.
"BIO5 has an outstanding record of achievement in advancing collaborative, interdisciplinary life science research. Jennifer has the requisite experience to make sure that continues," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, the UA's senior vice president for research. "I am firmly committed to the continued success of BIO5 and its role in helping us achieve the research goals identified through the University of Arizona's strategic plan, Never Settle."
"Jennifer's ability to bring people together, which she has done throughout her career at the UA, and her administrative accomplishments and familiarity with our faculty make her a great fit for BIO5 at this time."
The BIO5 Institute brings together researchers in agriculture, engineering, medicine, pharmacy and science to develop creative solutions to humanity's most pressing health challenges. Since 2001, this interdisciplinary approach has been an international model of how to conduct collaborative research, and it has resulted in improved food crops, innovative diagnostics and devices, and promising new therapies.
"Since its inception, BIO5 has been central in promoting interdisciplinary biosciences research at the University of Arizona and around the globe," said Barton, whose research interests are in translational biomedical optics and the early detection of cancer. "I'm excited to build on the accomplishments of Fernando and Vicki (former BIO5 director Vicki Chandler) and continue the UA tradition of collaboration."
Barton has been on the faculty at the UA since 1998. Her work has included a number of breakthroughs in imaging, with research projects funded by federal agencies, foundations and industry. She is the principal investigator on active awards from the National Cancer Institute (for the identification of the earliest image markers of ovarian cancer), the Department of Defense (to develop a small endoscope that can image the fallopian tubes and ovaries) and a private Arizona company (to understand mechanisms behind a device to treat injured tendons).