Ian Barker

Ian Barker

Associate Professor

DVM, MSc Guelph, PhD Melbourne
 Office: PAHL 4845
 519-824-4120 Ext. 54616



I have had an eclectic and evolving career in the general fields of veterinary parasitology, veterinary pathology and wildlife diseases. I teach general veterinary pathology, pathology of the gastrointestinal tract, diseases of captive and free-ranging wildlife, and applied anatomic pathology at the DVM level. At the post-graduate level I teach pathology of the gastrointestinal tract and comparative veterinary pathology (captive and free-ranging amphibians, reptiles, wild birds and mammals) and contribute to teaching on wildlife zoonoses, as well as to experiential education in anatomic pathology. I carry out surveillance, research and diagnostic work in those fields.

DVM Education
My educational philosophy is based on establishment of clear competency-based behavioural objectives; facilitating the ability of the student to meet those objectives by a variety of means, including experiential learning; and evaluating students in a manner relevant to those objectives.

An understanding of the principles of pathology and the pathogenesis of disease is an intragal component of a veterinary curriculum, and experiential education of DVM students in veterinary laboratory medicine is required in order to meet the challenges encountered by entry-level veterinarians.

I served on the OVC Curriculum Committee for 12 years, during the development and implementation of the competency-based “DVM 2000” curriculum. Associated with the introduction of “DVM 2000” I participated in the design of VETM*3450 “Principles of Disease in Veterinary Medicine”, to which I continue to contribute teaching. This is a modular sequentially multidisciplinary integrative Phase II course introducing DVM students to veterinary laboratory medicine and the related etiologic disciplines, which I coordinated for the first 4 years.

I also participated in the design and implementation of VETM*4480 Comparative Medicine (Phase III), integrating DVM offerings in Fish Health, Avian Medicine, Zoo Animal and Wildlife Diseases (which I teach), and Laboratory Animal Medicine. I contribute the Liver, Pancreas and Gastrointestinal Tract component of Systems Pathology (VETM*4490, Phase III). And in Phase IV I participate in mentoring students during their anatomic pathology rotation (VETM*4850).

Graduate Education
In addition to offering graduate courses (gastrointestinal pathology in PABI*6130 Pathology II; PABI*6221 Comparative Veterinary Pathology I), I contribute to experiential education of budding anatomic and wildlife pathologists (PABI*6630, 40, 50 Applied Comparative Pathology I, II, III; PABI*6080, 90, 91 Diagnostic Pathology I, II, III). For over 30 years I have collaborated with colleagues at the Toronto Zoo and OVC in provision of a residency/DVSc programme in Zoological Medicine and Pathology I have supervised over 25 graduate students at the Diploma, MSc, DVSc and PhD levels in the fields of anatomic pathology, wildlife diseases and zoo and wildlife medicine and pathology. They have found vocations as academics, veterinary laboratory diagnosticians, veterinary practitioners, zoo veterinarians/administrators, government and industrial research scientists, wildlife biologists or administrators; and public health epidemiologists, in North America, Australia, Europe and Africa. I also have served on the advisory committees of over 60 more graduate students in the departments of Pathology/Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology/Pathobiology, Clinical Studies, Zoology, Animal & Poultry Science, Environmental Biology, Geography, and Landscape Architecture.

Scholarly Activity
My mainly applied scientific output has been based largely on opportunities arising from disease surveillance activity and collaborations with colleagues working in parasitology, zoological medicine, epidemiology and medical entomology/vector-borne diseases. I also have an interest in veterinary history. The published outcome of this and other scholarly activity is summarized in the list of Scientific Contributions, and on PubMed. In addition, I have authored/coauthored over 40 non-refereed reports, popular articles and book reviews, over 130 conference presentations, and given numerous seminars, short courses, continuing education presentations and lectures to non-specialist audiences.

Since the founding of the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCWHC) in 1992, I have been Director of the Ontario/Nunavut Region. Based in Canada’s five veterinary colleges, the CCWHC is Canada’s network of wildlife health expertise, with a main mission of surveillance for diseases of relevance to wildlife, domestic animal, environmental and human health. We carry on a busy scanning surveillance programme for diseases in wild fish, amphibians & reptiles, birds and mammals in Ontario, and liaise actively with colleagues in the Canadian Wildlife Service and Environment Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Nunavut Department of Environment, and regional Public Health Units in Ontario, as well as with wildlife rehabilitators and members of the public.

Since confirming, with Health Canada colleagues, the presence of the agent of Lyme Borreliosis in vector ticks in Ontario in 1986, I have been involved in ongoing collaborative studies to define the risk of Lyme Disease in Canada. Working with colleagues in the Public Health Agency of Canada, and in public health agencies at provincial and local levels, CCWHC was responsible for Canadian surveillance for West Nile virus (WNV) in wild birds from 2000-2008. WNV was first detected in Canada in 2001 in a bird accessioned by the CCWHC Ontario/Nunavut diagnostic laboratory. Similarly, since 2005, CCWHC has implemented surveillance for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in wild birds in Canada.

Extra-university Service
I have served on a number of conference planning committees, as an Assistant Editor of The Journal of Wildlife Diseases for 18 years and of The International Journal for Parasitology for two, and on federal and provincial technical committees, scientific panels and working groups dealing with non-enteric zoonoses, including Lyme Borreliosis and West Nile Virus, climate change and disease risk, tularemia, influenza A, rabies, and risks for wildlife posed by farmed cervids.

Research Interests

Wildlife/Zoo Animal Pathology; Wildlife Zoonoses; Wildlife Disease Surveillance.

Honours and Professional Experiences

Honours and awards include:
▸ Norden Award for Teaching Excellence, Ontario Veterinary College, 1985
▸ "Robert and Virginia Rausch Visiting Professor ", Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 1986
▸ "University Visiting Lecturer", Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, February, 1992
▸ “Distinguished Service Award”, in recognition of lifetime contributions to the study of wildlife diseases, Wildlife Disease Association, 1999
▸ University of Guelph Faculty Association Teaching Award, Ontario Veterinary College, 2002
▸ Canadian Animal Health Laboratorian of the Year, Canadian Animal Health Laboratorians Network, 2004
▸ Honorary Class President, OVC Years '82, ‘03, ‘07