James R. Baker, Jr., M.D.
James R. Baker, Jr., M.D. is BlueWillow’s founder, and he continues to help guide the company’s scientific direction in vaccines and anti-infective applications. He is the founding Director of the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center, is currently an emeritus professor of medicine and was, for 20 years, the chief of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Baker is also a professor of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering. In 2001 he was inaugurated as the first recipient of the Ruth Dow Doan Endowed Professorship in Biologic Nanotechnology. Following his prior successes, in 2005 the U-M Board of Regents formed the Michigan Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences and appointed Dr. Baker as its first director. His recent accolades include the Distinguished University Innovator Award from the U-M Office of the Vice President for Research and the Damen Award for Distinguished alumnus from the Stritch School of Medicine.
Dr. Baker’s research is in the area of immunology and host defense, evolving into nanomaterials and their applications in medicine. His work has produced new vector systems for gene transfer using dendritic polymers, which have the potential to revolutionize pharmaceutical therapy. Dr. Baker has also invented new forms of synthetic lipid and polymeric nanostructures, which have resulted in the development of nanoemulsions as a new approach to vaccines. He has founded 5 companies and spent 2 years as the worldwide Head of vaccines at Merck. He most recently served as the CEO of FARE, the national food allergy foundation.