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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor David Baker, PhD


Professor of Neuroimmunology

Centre: Centre for Neuroscience, Surgery and Trauma

Telephone: 020 7882 2485


Prof David Baker and his colleagues undertake research on basic science aspects of multiple sclerosis and this links to the clinical science aspects of multiple sclerosis run by Prof Gain Giovannoni. His research has strong emphasis on developing methods for disease control.

Prof Baker received his B.Sc. in Zoology from Bedford College, University of London in 1983. He trained in immunology at The Hunterian Institute, University of London and received his Ph.D. in 1987 for studies on control of immune responses in delayed hypersensitivities of the skin. Through support of post-doctoral fellowships he began studying delayed hypersensitivities of the central nervous system, particularly as they relate to control of multiple sclerosis. He developed a novel relapsing-remitting model of multiple sclerosis in the late 1980s and since that time he has been working on experimental therapies for this condition. He moved from the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London to its sister Institute at Neurology, UCL in 1999 and was awarded the title of Professor in 2004. He was involved in the basic:clinical interface for the development of novel treatments for multiple sclerosis and targeting autoimmunity, neuroprotection and symptom control. He moved to the Blizard Institute at the end of 2006 and developed a novel model of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and has been focusing recent research on neuroprotection.

During the early 2000, he began pioneering work on the symptomatic control of spasticity with cannabinoids, which underpinned the perception that cannabis could be used to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis. A number of his ideas, such as autoimmune tolerance, use of certain cytostatic agents and cannabinoids have been translated into the clinic. He has filed a number of patents and founded a University Spin-Out Company that developed a treatment to Phase II in humans. More recently he has been re-examining the mechanisms of disease modifying treatments, focusing interest towards the memory B cell component as a new target that can incorporate the aetiology, pathology and response to therapy in multiple sclerosis.

He links with Prof Giovannoni and Klaus Schmierer in the Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Prof Baker is an internationally recognised neuroimmunologist and has identified novel treatment strategies for experimental neuroimmunological conditions. 

Barts Ms Blog

Member of the International Neuroimmunology Society
Member of British Society of Immunology
Member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society
Organiser of “Meet the Scientists” Multiple Sclerosis for Lay People
Multiple Sclerosis Society Grant Review Panel
Founder of Canbex (University Spin-Out Company)
Reviewer for Many Journals and Grant Awarding Bodies



MBBS, Lecturer
BSc Neuroscience (Intercalated), Lecturer and lab project supervisor


MSc Neuroscience and Translational Medicine, Lecturer and lab project supervisor

Topics for PhD supervision

Neuroimmunology; Cannabinoids

Professional Development

MS Preceptoship


Research Interests:

Multiple sclerosis research; Experimental models of multiple sclerosis; Immunosuppression; Neuroprotection; Repair; Symptom Control; Cannabinoids

Recent and ongoing research projects

  • CNS-excluded cannabinoids in symptom control
  • Modulators of the endocannabinoid system in symptom control
  • CNS Drug Pumps in the therapy of multiple sclerosis
  • Optic neuritis as a 3Rs model for multiple sclerosis
  • Models of CNS autoimmunity
  • GPR55 as a novel cannabinoid target
  • Stem cells and engineered stem cells in the control of multiple sclerosis.
  • Autoimmune tolerance in neuroimmunological disease


Key Publications

Baker D, Giovannoni G, Pryce G, Amor S, Schmierer K (2018). Learning from other autoimmunities to understand targeting of B cells to control multiple sclerosis. Brain vol. 141, (10) 2834-2847.

Baker D, Herrod SS, Alvarez-Gonzalez C, Giovannoni G, Schmierer K (2017). Interpreting Lymphocyte Reconstitution Data From the Pivotal Phase 3 Trials of Alemtuzumab. JAMA Neurol vol. 74, (8) 961-969.

Baker D, Schmierer K, Herrod S, Alvarez-Gonzalez C, Zalewski L, Albor C (2017). Both cladribine and alemtuzumab may effect multiple sclerosis via B cell depletion. Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation vol. 4, (4) 

Baker D, Marta M, Pryce G, Giovannoni G, Schmierer K (2017). Memory B Cells are Major Targets for Effective Immunotherapy in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. EBioMedicine vol. 16, 41-50.

Baker D, Pryce G, Visintin C, Sisay S, Bondarenko AI, Vanessa Ho WS, Jackson SJ, Williams TE, Al-Izki S, Sevastou I, Okuyama M, Graier WF, Stevenson LA, Tanner C, Ross R, Pertwee RG, Henstridge CM, Irving AJ, Schulman J, Powell K, Baker MD, Giovannoni G, Selwood DL (2017). Big conductance calcium-activated potassium channel openers control spasticicity without sedation. Br J Pharmacol. vol. 174, (16) 2662-2681.

All Publications

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