Staff news

Visiting Professor: Nick Barker

Nick Barker has been appointed a Visiting Professor for the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

Professor Nick Barker

Nick Barker obtained his PhD from Reading University in 1996.

He immediately joined Professor Hans Clevers’s research group in Utrecht to investigate the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in intestinal development and cancer.

Nick’s early achievements include discovering that deregulation of this signalling pathway is the initiating event in colon cancer.

In 2001, he joined Semaia Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company co-founded by Professor Clevers.

His role there was as a senior scientist developing small molecule inhibitors of the Tcf/β-catenin protein complex as colon cancer therapeutics.

In 2006, he rejoined the Clevers Group as senior staff scientist.

As a member of this group, Professor Barker’s most notable achievement has been the identification of the Wnt target gene Lgr5 as a marker of adult stem cell populations in various organs, including the intestine, skin and stomach.

This work also led to the discovery that intestinal Lgr5 stem cells are the cell-of-origin of colon cancer and revealed Lgr5 as a potential marker of cancer stem cell populations.

Nick recently joined the Institute of Medical Biology in Singapore as Principle Investigator, where he focuses on the role of Lgr5 gastric stem cells in self-renewal and cancer.