Annelise E. Barron is the W.M. Keck Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University.
The broad theme of the Barron lab is the study and biomimicry of natural host defense peptides (antimicrobial peptides). We study the molecular biophysics and mechanisms of LL-37—a centrally important human host defense peptide—and its involvement in Alzheimer's dementia (via LL-37 dysregulation and degradation by pathogen virulence factors). Alzheimer's dementia can be caused by (or at least, accompanied by) cerebral infections, a phenomenon now receiving renewed attention given recent discoveries. We are also working to develop biostable peptoid mimics of LL-37 as therapeutics that can combat antibiotic-resistant infections. Finally, we are working to mimic lung surfactant proteins that facilitate the delivery of therapeutics to the lungs, treat bacterial and viral pneumonia, or prevent or treat ventilator-associated acute lung injury.
We are currently putting efforts into better understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of Covid-19, as relates to dysregulation of innate immunity; understanding why certain minority populations seem to be more strongly affected by Covid-19 infections; and developing therapeutic approaches to both preventing and treating severe Covid-19.
Dr. Barron was trained as a chemical engineer at the University of Washington (B.S.) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D., under the mentorship of Prof. Harvey W. Blanch), and was a Pharmaceutical Chemistry postdoc with Prof. Ken A. Dill (UCSF) and Dr. Ronald N. Zuckermann (Chiron Corp.). She has served on the faculty at Stanford since 2007, and prior to that, served on the Chemical & Biological Engineering faculty of Northwestern University in Evanston, IL for 10 years (1997-2007). Dr. Barron has been awarded the NIH Pioneer Award (2020), the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists & Engineers (PECASE) through NIH / NHGRI (1999), the Beckman Young Investigator Award (1999), and the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1998), among other awards. Dr. Barron was the youngest scientist ever to serve on the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Director of the NIH, under Dr. Elias Zerhouni. She has more than 172 publications and a current H-index of 45 (Web of Science, All Databases), and serves on the advisory boards of several biotechnology companies. She is proud to be 1/4 Quechua (the Native American people of Bolivia), 1/4 Hispanic, 1/4 Swedish, 1/4 English, and 100% American.