In Memoriam: David Barker, M.D., Ph.D., FRS

Dr. BarkerThe School of Medicine announces with great sadness that David Barker, M.D., Ph.D., FRS, director of international collaborations at the OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness and professor in cardiovascular medicine, died Aug. 27.

Memorial Service

Monday, October 21, 4 p.m.

OHSU Old Library Great Hall

About Dr. Barker

Dr. Barker was the first to link fetal nutrition to adult disease. More than 25 years ago, he started an investigation into why historically poorer areas of England had disproportionately high death rates from coronary heart disease than other areas. He showed that people who had low birth weight have a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes, demonstrating a relationship between a mother's nutrition and the health of her children as adults. This groundbreaking finding, known as the Barker Hypothesis, led to a new understanding that chronic adult diseases are "programmed" in the womb by malnutrition and other harmful influences, and to the establishment of a new biomedical field called Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD).

Dr. Barker joined OHSU in 2003 to work with Kent Thornburg, Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of the Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness and the Knight Cardiovascular Institute Center for Developmental Health. Dr. Barker's vast expertise and invaluable connections to international studies helped establish OHSU as an international leader in the field of DOHaD.

Dr. Barker received his doctorate from the University of Birmingham and his medical degree from the University of London. For his work on fetal programming, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. He is past president of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland. Dr. Barker lectured and wrote extensively on maternal-fetal nutrition, including the book Nutrition in the Womb. He received a number of international awards including the Prince Mahidol Prize in 2000, the Danone International Prize for Nutrition in 2005, and the Richard Doll Prize in Epidemiology in 2011.

"Inside [David's] extraordinary mind, before its untimely silencing, was the brilliance, the insatiable drive for discovery and the greatest repository of knowledge on the biology of human disease the world has ever known," said Dr. Thornburg. (Read the full text of Dr. Thornburg's tribute to Dr. Barker.)

Memorial and gifts

Additional details about memorial services and ways to honor Dr. Barker will be shared here as they become available.

More about Dr. Barker