Dr James Barker was born in Ashton-under-Lyne and grew up in Mottram-in-Longdendale, Cheshire. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSc in Chemistry and PhD in nuclear methods for bioanalysis. He then became a Research Fellow at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, working with the ISOLDE team developing ion source materials for CERN's beam-lines. Later, he returned to UK as a Senior Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at University of Greenwich. He then became AMS Manager of the world's first wholly commercial Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of York. Since 1999, he has been at Kingston University as Reader in Analytical Science and latterly as Associate Professor. He is the School of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry’s Director of Postgraduate Research and Deputy Director of Research and Enterprise.
Dr Barker has published over 150 articles, including 70 peer-reviewed papers and a book “Mass Spectrometry”, and has successfully supervised 20 PhD students. His research interests lie in the analysis of drugs of abuse, pharmacognosy, the development of nuclear science for pharmaceutical applications and environmental analysis. He is on the Editorial Board for four journals in Chemistry and the Environment and has been an Expert Witness at High Court trials in Forensic Toxicology.
He is an Assessor on the RSC’s Committee for Accreditation and Validation and an Assessor for CChem, CSci and CSciTeach awards. He is Vice-Chair of the Registration Committee and a former Chair of the Analytical Chemists' Panel of Assessors, formerly the Analytical Chemists’ Registration Board.
Outside of academia, Dr Barker takes part in outreach science activities in local schools, plays cricket for his village team, follows Manchester United FC and has recently started to learn bell-ringing.