Faculty‎ > ‎

Baker, Jr., James R., MD, Director

1150 W. Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5648
(734) 647-2777

James R. Baker, Jr., M.D., Director of the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and the Biological Sciences (MNIMBS), completed his undergraduate education at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. After an internship and internal medicine residency at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., he completed an Allergy and Clinical Immunology Fellowship, also at Walter Reed and at NIAID. In 1988, Dr. Baker was appointed as Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1989 as an Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Allergy. In 1991, he was appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan and became the Director of the Histocompatibility Laboratory in that Department. In 1993, Dr. Baker was appointed as Chief of the Division of Allergy in the Department of Internal Medicine. He was promoted to Professor of Internal Medicine on May 17, 1996. Dr. Baker was appointed Director of the newly organized Center for Biologic Nanotechnology at the University of Michigan in July of 1998. In May, 2001, Dr. Baker was named the Co-Director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering. In June of 2001 Dr. Baker was inaugurated as the first recipient of the Ruth Dow Doan Endowed Professorship in Biologic Nanotechnology. Because Dr. Baker has distinguished himself as both a national and an international leader in the field of biologic nanotechnology, in October of 2001 he was named as the first recipient of the U-M Dean's Innovation Award. In August, 2002, he was appointed Director of Research in the newly created Michigan Bioterrorism and Health Preparedness Research and Training Center in the University's School of Public Health. In June, 2003, he was appointed to serve as a member of the newly formed Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group (N-TAG) of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to the Executive Office of the President of the United States. In September, 2004, Dr. Baker was named as one of the three editors of the National Nanotechnology Initiatives' research directives. He is a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and is the only physician on this important Office of Science and Technology Policy committee. Dr. Baker presently serves as Co-Chair of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's Vaccines and Biological Threats Committee. He also serves as a board member representing the University of Michigan on the Region V Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (the Great Lakes Regional Centers of Excellence). He is a 14-year veteran of service in the U.S. Military, 12 of which were on active duty, including service during Operation Desert Storm.

Dr. Baker has over 25 years experience in basic biologic research, concentrating in immunology and host defense. His long-standing research in immunology has helped define the basis of several autoimmune diseases. He has become an internationally recognized expert in nanotechnology, nanomolecular materials in biomedical applications, and the emerging field of nanomedicine. He has given plenary lectures at most of the major nanotechnology conferences, has testified before Congress on nanotechnology, and has spoken about his research at a number of international meetings, corporations, and universities. He has been funded by a series of grants from NIAID, DARPA and the NCI. Recently he has been involved in work concerning gene transfer and drug delivery. These studies have produced new vector systems for gene transfer using dendritic polymers, which have the potential to revolutionize pharmaceutical therapy. Dr. Baker's work with synthetic lipid and polymeric nanostructures has resulted in the development of a new class of antimicrobial agents with activity against bacteria, spores, fungi and viruses. These projects have led to two start-up biotechnology companies, NanoBio Corporation and Avidimer Therapeutics, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Baker serves as the Chief Scientific Officer of these Corporations.

In April of 2005, the University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the formation of the new Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and the Biological Sciences (MNIMBS) and appointed Dr. Baker as its first Director. Under his leadership, the MNIMBS will merge academic expertise and institutional resources across the university to develop and market applications for nanotechnology in medicine, the biological sciences, and the environment.