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John H. Barker

John H. Barker

John H. Barker

Friedrichsheim Foundation Endowed Professor of Experimental Trauma & Orthopedics and
Director, Frankfurt Initiative for Regenerative Medicine
+49 (0)69 6705 9240 (Office)
+49 (0)17 2729 3461 (Mob)
+49 (0)69 6705 9242 (Fax)
jhb121654 [at]
Friedrichsheim Hospital gGmbH
Haus 97 B, 1. OG
Marienburgstr. 2
D-60528 Frankfurt/Main
“To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.”
(Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790)
NeuronetrixMedical MissionsPLACETPrecious HandsKids & Medical Science
ScholarshipsYes! I play Polo.Argentina



Research Focus

Dr. Barker’s research always begins and ends with patients in mind. He works closely with scientists, clinicians, industry partners and entrepreneurs using translational research and commercialization to develop better treatments for patients. One such effort led to the clinical introduction of human hand and face transplants. These new treatments have improved the lives of patients suffering with hand amputations and facial disfigurement and in doing so revolutionized the fields of Reconstructive and Transplant Surgery.

In 2010 Dr. Barker moved from the US to the Goethe University in Frankfurt Germany, where he established the Frankfurt Initiative for Regenerative Medicine (FIRM). In Frankfurt his research continues to focus on patients suffering with hand amputations and facial disfigurement, however instead of transplantation he is investigating new methods to regrow limbs and facial tissue. In partnership with the Departments of Trauma and Orthopedic Surgery at the Goethe University in Frankfurt he is building a multidisciplinary international team of scientists, clinicians and industry partners to develop new and better treatments for patients.

Of all his professional accomplishments Dr. Barker is most proud of having mentored more than 150 students, from more than 20 countries.


Biology Major 1974-77 SB City College and UCSB, Santa Barbara CA, USA
MD 1978-84 National University of Cordoba, Argentina
Doctor Med 1986-87 University of Heidelberg, Germany
Postdoctoral 1988-89 University of Louisville, Dept. Physiology/Surgery, USA



selected Publications and Presentations

The following are selected publications and presentations. Click here for a complete list.


  • Leppik L, Han Z, Mobini S, Parameswaran VT, Eischen-Loges M, Slavici A, Helbing J, Pindur L, Oliveira KMC, Bhavsar M, Hudak L, Henrich D, Barker JH.  Combining electrical stimulation and tissue engineering to treat large bone defects in a rat model.  Nature Sci. Rep. (2018) 8:6307 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-24892-0
  • Barker JH, Furr A, Barret JP, Hardy MA.  Are we ready for a human head transplant?  - The obstacles that must be overcome.  Current Transplantation Reports June 2018, 5(2):189-98. Published online at:
  • Liudmila Leppik, Andrei Slavici, Dara Froemel, Zachri N Ovadia, Lukasz Hudak, Dirk Henrich, Ingo Marzi, and John H. Barker, Effects of electrical stimulation on rat limb regeneration, a new look at an old model. Nature Sci. Rep. (2015) 5, 18353; DOI: 10.1038/srep18353.
  • “On the Ethics of Facial Transplantation Research”. American J of Bioethics 4(3): 1–12, 2004
  • “Successful hand transplantation: one-year follow-up”. NEJM, 343(7): 468-473, 2000
  • “Long-term survival of an extremity composite tissue allograft with FK506-MMF therapy”. Surgery 126(3): 384-388, 1999
  • “Composite Tissue Transplantation: A Clinical Reality?” Transplantation Proceedings, 30(6): 2686-2787, 1998


Experience & Interests


Dr. Barker founded the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratories at the University of Louisville in 1989. Since then, his laboratory grew in size and international reputation maintaining close collaborations with sister laboratories in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Frankfurt, Germany and Cordoba, Argentina. Dr. Barker’s research has focused on skin microcirculation, dynamic myoplasty, genetics of skin aging and composite tissue allotransplantation leading to the introduction of several pioneering new treatments. The ability to identify clinical problems, study and solve them in the research laboratory and finally apply them as better treatments in patients has been the hallmark of Dr Barker's research. He has achieved this through his unique ability to establish, lead and focus multidisciplinary teams solving complex clinical problems. Since 1990 Dr. Barker’s laboratory has published over 250 scientific articles, made over 300 presentations at scientific and clinical meetings, and has been awarded over 30 prestigious honors and awards.


Dr. Barker has served as a direct supervisor of more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate research fellows. Working under his mentorship 18 students have received their Masters of Science (MS) degrees, 18 their PhD degrees and 23 have received prestigious academic awards and honors.

Entrepreneurial Activities

In 2002 Dr. Barker founded and served as the first CEO of MetaCyte Business Labs, a business incubator created by the University of Louisville, local hospitals and the city of Louisville to help commercialize university-based intellectual property and stimulate the local economy. While in that role he founded, and continues to lead Neuronetrix, Inc. A Medical device company that is developing patented EEG-based technology for early detection of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Other Interests

  • Precious Hands - Help artisans in Guatemala produce, market and sell their handicrafts directly to customers in the US and Europe.
  • Medical Missions - Provide medical treatment to children in Latin American countries who otherwise go without.
  • Medical Supplies and Equipment - Provide donations of medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinics in Latin America.
  • PLACET - Reconstructive surgery for children who are victims of terror.
  • Scholarships - Provide exchange opportunities for medical students from Argentina, Guatemala, USA and Europe to experience how medicine is practiced in each others' countries.
  • Kids & Medical Science - Expose school children to the art and science of medicine through hands-on experiences at the medical center.
  • Argentina
  • Polo