Jennifer K. Barton, PhD

Associate Vice President for Research, University of Arizona
Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Optical Sciences, Agriculture, and Biosystems Engineering
Email Address: 
Phone Number: 
(520) 621-4116
(520) 626-4828

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Professional Bio: 

Jennifer Barton received her BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and University of California Irvine, respectively. She worked for McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) on the Space Station program before returning to The University of Texas at Austin to obtain the Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 1998. She is currently Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Optical Sciences, and Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Arizona. In 2012 she became Associate Vice President for Research, and from July 2013 - June 2014 she served as Interim Vice President for Research.

Dr. Barton develops miniature endoscopes that combine multiple optical imaging techniques, particularly optical coherence tomography and fluorescence spectroscopy. She evaluates the suitability of these endoscopic techniques for detecting early cancer development in patients and pre-clinical models. Additionally, her research into light-tissue interaction and dynamic optical properties of blood laid the groundwork for a novel therapeutic laser to treat disorders of the skin’s blood vessels. She has published over 90 peer-reviewed journal papers in these research areas.

Dr. Barton's research interests are in translational biomedical optics, and the prevention and early detection of cancer. She has expertise in light-tissue interaction, development of instrumentation, preclinical studies and clinical pilot trials. The Barton laboratory has competency in areas of engineering such as lens design, endoscope design, data acquisition and signal processing, instrumentation software, and image processing/analysis, as well as areas of cancer biology and physiology. The laboratory is heavily involved in preclinical and pilot clinical studies and Dr. Barton has experience gaining human and animal subject approvals, clinical engineering instrument approval, experimental design, statistical data analysis, and reporting.

Dr. Barton has particular interests in technology and application development of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fluorescence spectroscopy (FS), and design/development of miniature endoscope-enabled imaging systems. She has developed instruments for small animal and clinical imaging, with an application emphasis in the early detection of cancer and imaging of the microvasculature. Major achievements include an ultrahigh resolution OCT endoscope (2-4 µm resolution, 2 mm diameter), multimodality optical endoscopes, serial imaging of carcinogenesis, and clinical/surgical pilot studies of laboratory-built imaging systems. Each of her funded projects has included co-investigators from other departments, universities, and/or industry.

Dr. Barton recently became Co-Leader of the Cancer Imaging Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. She previously was Assistant Director of the BIO5 Institute, a collaborative research institute dedicated to solving complex biology-based problems affecting humanity. She served as the inaugural Department Head of Biomedical Engineering and Chair of the BME Graduate Interdisciplinary Program. She is a fellow of SPIE- the International Optics Society, and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Clinical Information

Clinical Focus: 

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Imaging
Member Status: 
Research Member
Summary of Research Activity: 

 Dr. Barton has performed extensive research on laser-blood vessel interaction, helping develop a paradigm shift in cutaneous blood vessel treatment by exploiting time-varying optical properties of blood. A dual-wavelength laser system based on this work is now being utilized to treat resistant port wine stains. Jennifer is also developing optical coherence tomography and laser induced fluorescence as tools for drug and therapy development. Her group has designed and fabricated miniature and ultra-high resolution endoscopes that can visualize early stages of colon, ovarian, and skin cancer development in animal models and human patients.

Selected Publications: 

Dr. Barton's NCBI bibliography

  1. Barton JK, Milner TE, Pfefer TJ, Nelson JS, Welch AJ: Optical low coherence reflectometry to enhance Monte Carlo modeling of skin. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 2(2):226-234, 1997.
  2. Izatt JA, Kulkarni MD, Yazdanfar S, Barton JK, Welch AJ: In vivo bidirectional Doppler flow imaging of picoliter blood volumes using optical coherence tomography. Optics Letters, 22(18):1439-1441, 1997.
  3. Barton JK, Pfefer TJ, Welch AJ, Smithies DJ, Nelson JS, van Gemert MJC: Optical Monte Carlo modeling of a true port wine stain anatomy. Optics Express 2, 391, 1998.
  4. Barton JK, Izatt JA, Welch AJ: Investigating pulsed dye laser-blood vessel interaction with color Doppler optical coherence tomography. Optics Express 2:251-256, 1998.
  5. Barton JK, Izatt JA, Kulkarni MD, Yazdanfar S, and Welch AJ: Three-dimensional reconstruction of blood vessels from in vivo color Doppler optical coherence tomography images. Dermatology, 198:355-361, 1999.
  6. Barton JK, Hammer DX, Pfefer TJ, Lund TJ, Stuck BE, Welch AJ: Simultaneous irradiation and imaging of cutaneous blood vessels. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 24:236-243, 1999.
  7. Vargas G, Chan EK, Barton JK, Rylander HG, Welch AJ: Use of an agent to reduce scattering in skin. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 24:133-141 1999.
  8. Barton JK, Vargas G, Pfefer TJ, Welch AJ: Laser fluence for permanent damage of cutaneous blood vessels. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 70:916-920, 1999.
  9. Barton JK, Rollins A, Yazdanfar S, Pfefer TJ, Westphal V, Izatt JA: Photothermal coagulation of blood vessels: a comparison of high-speed optical coherence tomography and numerical modeling. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 46:1665-1678, 2001.
  10. Barton JK, Frangineas G, Pummer H, Black JF: Cooperative phenomena in two-pulse, two-color laser photocoagulation of cutaneous blood vessels. Photochemistry and Photobiology, Jun;73(6):642-50, 2001.
  11. Barton JK, Popok D, Black JF: Thermal analysis of blood undergoing laser photocoagulation. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, 7:936-943, 2001.
  12. Wong RC, Yazdanfar S, Izatt JA, Kulkarni M, Barton JK, Welch AJ, Willis J, Sivak MV: Visualization of subsurface blood vessels by color Doppler-optical coherence tomography in rats: before and after hemostatic therapy. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 55(1):88-95, 2002.
  13. Rollins AM, Yazdanfar S, Barton JK, and Izatt JA: Real-time in vivo color Doppler optical coherence tomography. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 7:123-129, 2002.
  14. Gossage K, Tkaczyk T, Rodriguez J, Barton J:, Texture Analysis of Optical Coherence Tomography Images: Feasibility for Tissue Classification,” Journal of Biomedical Optics 8:570-575, 2003.
  15. Barton JK, Gossage KW, Xu W, Ranger-Moore J, Saboda K, Brooks CA, Duckett LD, Salache SJ, Warneke JA, Alberts DS: Investigating sundamaged skin and actinic keratosis with optical coherence tomography: a pilot study. Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment, 2:525-535, 2003.
  16. Tumlinson AR, Hariri LP, Utzinger U, Barton JK: A miniature endoscope for simultaneous optical coherence tomography- laser induced fluorescence. Applied Optics OT, 43:113-121, 2004.
  17. BartonJK, Guzman F, Tumlinson AR: Dual modality instrument for simultaneous optical coherence tomography imaging and fluorescence spectroscopy. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 9:618-623, 2004.
  18. Alberding J, Barton JK, Wiley EB, Baldwin AL: Onset of pulsatile pressure causes transiently increased filtration through artery wall. American Journal of Physiology, 286(5):H1827-35, 2004.
  19. Loo C, Lin A, Hirsch L, Lee M, Barton J, Halas N, West J, Drezek R: Nanoshell-enabled photonics-based imaging and therapy of cancer. Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment, 3:33-40, 2004.
  20. Black JF and Barton JK: Chemical and Structural Changes in Blood Undergoing Laser Photocoagulation. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 80:89-97, 2004.
  21. Brewer M, Utzinger U, Barton JK, Hoying JB, Kirkpatrick ND, Brands WR, Davis JR, Hunt K, Stevens SJ, Gmitro AF, Imaging of the Ovary, Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment, 3: 617-628, 2004.
  22. Kariya R, Mathine DL, Barton JK: Analog CMOS Circuit Design and Characterization for Optical Coherence Tomography Signal Processing, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering,51(12):2160-3, 2004.
  23. Black JF, Wade N, Barton JK: Mechanistic comparison of blood undergoing laser photocoagulation at 532 and 1,064 nm,” Lasers Surg. Med. 36:155-165, 2005.
  24. Barton JK, Stromski S, "Flow measurement without phase information in optical coherence tomography images," Optics Express, 13:5234-5239, 2005.
  25. Gossage KW, Smith CM, Kanter EM, Hariri LP, Stone AL, Rodriguez JJ, Williams SK, Barton JK, “Texture analysis of speckle in optical coherence tomography images of tissue phantoms", Physics in Medicine and Biology, 51:1563-1575, 2006.
  26. Hariri LP, Tumlinson AR, Wade NH, Besselsen D, Utzinger U, Gerner E, Barton JK, “Endoscopic optical coherence tomography and laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy in a murine colon cancer model,” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 38:305-313, 2006.
  27. Xu W, Bonnema GT, Gossage KW, Wade NH, Medford J, Barton JK, “Customized analog circuit design for fiber based optical coherence microscopy,” Review of Scientific Instruments 77: 016104, 2006.
  28. McNally J, Kirkpatrick N, Hariri LP, Tumlinson AR, Besselsen D, Gerner E, Urs Utzinger U, Barton J., “Task Based Imaging of Colon Cancer in a Mouse Model (ApcMin/+),” Applied Optics, 45: 3049-3062, 2006.
  29. Kanter EM, Walker RM, Marion SL, Brewer M, Hoyer PB, Barton JK, “Dual modality imaging of a novel rat model of ovarian carcinogenesis,” Journal of Biomedical Optics, 11: 041123, 2006.
  30. Agrawal A, HuangS, Wei A, Lin H, Lee M, DrezekR, Barton JK, Pfefer J, “Quantitativeevaluation of optical coherence tomography signal enhancement with gold nanoshells,” Journal of Biomedical Optics, 11: 041121, 2006.
  31. Tumlinson AR, Barton JK, Povazay B, Sattman H, Unterhuber A, Leitgeb RA, Drexler W, “Endoscope-tip interferometer for ultrahigh resolution frequency domain optical coherence tomography in mouse colon,” Optics Express, 14: 1878-1887, 2006.
  32. Xu W, Mathine DL, Barton JK, “High-gain differential CMOS transimpedance amplifier with on-chip buried double junction photodiode,” Electronics Letters 42(14):803-5, 2006.
  33. Tumlinson AR, Povazay B, Hariri LP, McNally J, Unterhuber A, Hermann B, Sattmann H, Drexler W, Barton JK, “In vivo ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography of mouse colon with an achromatized endoscope,” Journal of Biomedical Optics, 11:064003, 2006.
  34. Hariri LP, Qiu L, Tumlinson AR, Besselsen DG, Gerner EG, Ignatenko N, Povazay B, Hermann B, Sattmann H, McNally J, Unterhuber, Drexler W, Barton JK, “Serial endoscopy in azoxymethane treated mice using ultrahigh resolution optical coherence tomography,” Cancer Biology and Therapy, 6:11 1-10, 2007.
  35. Korde V, Bonnema G, Xu W, Krishnamurthy C, Ranger-Moore J, Saboda K, Slayton L, Salasche S, Warneke J, Alberts D, and Barton JK, “Using Optical Coherence Tomography to Evaluate Skin Sun Damage and Precancer,” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 39:687-695, 2007.
  36. Luo Y, Arauz L, Castillo J, Barton JK, Kostuk R, “Parallel Optical Coherence Tomography System” Applied Optics, 46(34):8291-7, 2007.
  37. Xu W, Mathine DL, Barton JK, “Analog CMOS design for optical coherence tomography signal detection and processing,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 55(2):485-9, 2008.
  38. Tumlinson AR, Hofer B, Winkler A, Povazay B, Drexler W, Barton JK, Inherent homogenous media dispersion compensation in frequency domain optical coherence tomography by accurate “k-sampling,” Applied Optics 47(5):687-93, 2008.
  39. Black KC, Kirkpatrick ND, Troutman TS, Xu L, Vagner J, Gillies RJ, Barton JK, Utzinger U, Romanowski M, “Gold nanorods targeted to delta opioid receptor: plasmon-resonant contrast and photothermal agents,” Molecular Imaging 7(1):50-7, 2008.
  40. Luo Y, Gelsinger PJ, Barton JK, Barbastathis G, Kostuk RK, “Optimization of multiplexed holographic gratings in PQ-PMMA for spectral-spatial imaging filters,” Opt Lett 33:566-8, 2008.
  41. Vargas G, Barton JK, Welch AJ “The Use of Hyper-osmotic Chemical Agent to Improve the Laser Treatment of Cutaneous Vascular Lesions,” Journal of Biomedical Optics, 13:021114, 2008.
  42. Troutman T, Barton JK, Romanowski MR “Biodegradable Plasmon Resonant Nanoshells,” Advanced Materials, 20:2604-2608, 2008.
  43. Arauz LJ, Luo Y, Castillo JE, Barton JK, Kostuk RK “Fiber Array Fabrication Technique for 15µm Diameter Single Mode Fibers,” Optical Engineering, 47: 074002, 2008.
  44. Bonnema GT, O’Halloran Cardinal K, Williams SK, Barton JK “An automatic algorithm for detecting stent endothelialization from volumetric optical coherence tomography datasets,” Physics in Medicine and Biology, 53:3083-3098, 2008.
  45. Luo Y, Gelsinger-Austin PJ, Watson JM, Barbastathis G, Barton JK, Kostuk RK, “Laser-induced fluorescence imaging of subsurface tissue structures with a volume holographic spatial-spectral imaging system,” Opt Lett. 33(18):2098-2100, 2008.
  46. Zhang Y, Davidson BR, Stamer WD, Barton JK, Marmorstein L, Marmorstein AD, “Enhanced inflow and outflow rates despite lower IOP in Bestrophin-2 deficient mice,” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 50:765-70, 2009.
  47. Hoyer PB, Davis JR, Bedrnicek JB, Marion SL, Christian PJ, Barton JK, Brewer MA, "Ovarian neoplasm development by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) in a chemically-induced rat model of ovarian failure,” Gynecological Oncology, 112:610615, 2009.
Bio Sketch: 

Professional Information

Professional Affiliations: 
American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery
Biomedical Engineering Society
Optical Society of America

Academic Information

Master's Degree: 
University of California, Irvine 1993
Undergraduate School: 
The University of Texas, Austin 1988