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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


Professor Roger Barker

Parkinson's and Huntington's disease


Laboratory: John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Departmental Affiliation: Clinical Neurosciences



Roger Barker is the Professor of Clinical Neuroscience and Honorary Consultant in Neurology at the University of Cambridge and at Addenbrooke's Hospital.  He trained at Oxford and London and has been in his current position since 2000, after completing an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship.  

Roger combines basic research looking at novel therapies to treat chronic neurodegenerative disorders of the brain with clinically-based work aimed at better defining such disorders. He is the co-ordinator of the TRANSEURO project looking at fetal cell grafting in patients with early Parkinson's Disease and is part of the GFORCE PD initiative as well as Director of the ISSCR.



• BA, Oxford University, 1983

• MBBS, University of London, 1986

• MRCP (London) 1989

• PhD, University of Cambridge, 1994



Medical Research Council, Rosetrees Trust, EU, NIHR, Cure Parkinson's Trust, MedImmune Ltd


External links 

Follow us on Twitter: @PDandHDLab

Follow us on Facebook: The Barker/Williams-Gray Lab


850-520 Barker research 2017

Dopaminergic neurons differentiated from embryonic stem cells using a clinical grade protocol and reagents—TH (green), Btub (red)



Our main interests revolve around two relatively common, chronic neurodegenerative disorders of the nervous system - Parkinson's disease (PD) and Huntington's disease (HD). 

We are interested in better understanding how these diseases develop and then how they change over time with the idea of better classifying patients into different subtypes of disease. These subtypes can then be used to test new therapies as some types of these diseases may be better suited for one type of experimental treatment whilst others may not: e.g. dopamine cell therapies from stem cells treatment may be better suited to younger PD patients with a more benign clinical course. 

In addition this ability to stratify patients also enables us to undertake studies looking at how these disease subtypes may arise using cells grown from the patients themselves. Typically we harvest these cells from the skin and then turn them into nerve cells in the lab, and by so doing we hope that we can recapitulate what goes wrong in the brain nerve cells in such patients.


Barker group 2020

Barker Group photo 


Plain English

Our research primarily focuses on neurodegenerative disorders of the brain such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Huntington’s disease (HD). We have sought to better define the true extent of clinical deficits in these disorders, with the aim of building a more complete model of disease heterogeneity and its basis which will then serve to inform the translation of stem cell therapies to clinics by targeting the right sub-group of patients at the optimal stage of disease. 



Key Publications

  • Haniffa M, Taylor D, Linnarsson S, Aronow BJ, Bader GD, Barker RA, Camara PG, Camp JG, Chédotal A, Copp A, Etchevers HC, Giacobini P, Göttgens B, Guo G, Hupalowska A, James KR, Kirby E, Kriegstein A, Lundeberg J, Marioni JC, Meyer KB, Niakan KK, Nilsson M, Olabi B, Pe'er D, Regev A, Rood J, Rozenblatt-Rosen O, Satija R, Teichmann SA, Treutlein B, Vento-Tormo R, Webb S; Human Cell Atlas Developmental Biological Network. A roadmap for the Human Developmental Cell Atlas. Nature. 2021 Sep;597(7875):196-205. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03620-1. Epub 2021 Sep 8. PMID: 34497388.
  • Lovell-Badge R, Anthony E, Barker RA, Bubela T, Brivanlou AH, Carpenter M, Charo RA, Clark A, Clayton E, Cong Y, Daley GQ, Fu J, Fujita M, Greenfield A, Goldman SA, Hill L, Hyun I, Isasi R, Kahn J, Kato K, Kim JS, Kimmelman J, Knoblich JA, Mathews D, Montserrat N, Mosher J, Munsie M, Nakauchi H, Naldini L, Naughton G, Niakan K, Ogbogu U, Pedersen R, Rivron N, Rooke H, Rossant J, Round J, Saitou M, Sipp D, Steffann J, Sugarman J, Surani A, Takahashi J, Tang F, Turner L, Zettler PJ, Zhai X. ISSCR Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation: The 2021 update. Stem Cell Reports. 2021 Jun 8;16(6):1398-1408. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.05.012. Epub 2021 May 27. PMID: 34048692; PMCID: PMC8190668.


The Barker Group

Barker Group members:

Maha Alfaidi
Danielle Daft
Shaline Fazal
Xialong He
Jasmijn Janssen
Myrna Maquinana
Venkat Pisupati
Sophie Skidmore
Kelli Torsney