Dr. Clyde Barker
Dr. Clyde Barker is a contemporary of Dr. Starzl’s, one of the earliest transplant surgeons to emerge on the scene in the 1960s. Originally from Salt Lake City, Barker began his surgical residency at the University of Pennsylvania in 1958, and has been a part of the institution ever since. In 1965, he became a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medical Genetics, working closely with Rupert E. Billingham, one of the earliest researchers to work on the immunology and tolerance studies which would make organ transplantation feasible. Their year of working together ignited an interest in transplantation for Barker. In 1966, buoyed by the successes being reported by other surgeons, such as Starzl in Colorado, Barker established the Transplantation Division at the University of Pennsylvania, serving as its chair from its inception until 2001. He performed his first kidney transplant that very year.
Rather than riding on the laurels of his early successes, Barker became a dedicated surgeon, researcher, and advocate for the organ transplantation community. Institutionally, he was named Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983, a position which he held until 2001. As a researcher, his studies in tolerance produced astounding advances in the field, notably in the field of islet cells; he has written upwards of 400 research publications. He was involved in the early stages of the United Network for Organ Sharing as a member of the Board of Directors from 1984-1989. His work in public advocacy was an area in which he and Starzl had overlapping interests. (Doc. 1) Barker went on to win many prestigious awards for his dedication to the field and his accomplishments, including receiving the Thomas E. Starzl Prize in Transplantation and Immunology in 2008, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of University Surgeons in 2009, and the Transplant Society’s Medawar Prize in 2010.
Though the two have never worked together, their research and surgical innovations were complementary to each other’s careers, and their long history of correspondence shows respect for each other’s work. The correspondence files held in the archive show the two men trading ideas and research results, sharing publications, and generally acknowledging each other for their achievements. (Doc. 2) In fact, Starzl supplied the Medawar Prize nomination for Barker, a great show of admiration for his long legacy of achievements. (Doc. 3) Barker continues to be active, both at the University of Pennsylvania and in the transplant community at large, an indomitable figure in a field full of high achievers.
A letter from Dr. Starzl discussing his thoughts concerning organ distribution
Letter, July 18, 1988, Dr. Thomas Starzl to Dr. Clyde Barker, 4 pages
© Dr. Thomas Starzl
Dr. Barker thanks Dr. Starzl for his involvement in a Festschrift honoring the latter in September 2002.
Letter, September 28, 2002, 1 page
© Dr. Clyde Barker