‌James Baker


228 Neuroscience Annex
1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146
E-mail: bakerjd@bio.miami.edu
Office: (305) 284-9055

Lab website


  • 2007-present, Research Assistant Professor, and Imaging Core Facility Manger, University of Miami Biology Department
  • 2002-2007, Research associate, Stony Brook University
  • 1998-2002, Postdoctoral fellow with M. Kernan, Stony Brook University,
  • 1990-1998, Ph.D.Graduate student with J.W. Truman, University of Washington,
  • 1986-1990, University of Iowa, Undergraduate research assistant


  • 1990, Honors in Biology
  • 1990, Robbie Prize for Outstanding Graduating Biology Major
  • 1989, Sigma Xi research award


  • Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer research grant (co-PI with M. Kernan) 2004-06
  • NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship 1999-2001
  • NIH NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship (NIH) 1991-94


  • Cell Biology


I study the mechanisms that regulate and underlie ciliary development in animals (Drosophila in particular).  While cilia are ubiquitous on animal cells and intriguing for their fantastic ultrastructure, they have only recently been recognized as having fundamental roles in development and human disease.  In my lab we seek to understand one of the earliest steps in cilia formation, how the centrioles, a component of the microtubule-nucleating centrosome, are respecified to initiate cilia formation.  Recently I have been pursuing the function of kokopelli, a novel cyclin isolated using a yeast 2-hybrid protein interaction screen for proteins involved in altering centrioles to produce ciliogenic basal bodies.


As an educator I strive to tie the subject of any given lecture to points of relevance to the student body, whether these are stories drawn from current events, examples from human disease or trends likely to impact students in the future.  I also use small group interactions to promote discussion and questions even in lecture hall settings.  My role as instructor is to make students active participants in the lecture hall, laboratory and their own education.


  • Price DR, Feng H, Baker JD, Bavan S, Luetje CW, Wilson AC. (2014) Aphid amino acid transporter regulates glutamine supply to intracellular bacterial symbionts. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 111(1):320-5. doi: 10.1073.

    Keroles, MB, Dusseault, SK, Liu, C, Mohammed, MR, Vandakkan, Christy M., Amiel, Jessica H., Abel, SN, Bensoussan, ER, Russell, BL, Baker, JD.  (2013) Imaging Through the Pupal Case of Drosophila melanogaster JoVE doi:10.3791/51239.

    Ragab SS, Swaminathan S, Baker JD, Raymo FM. (2013) Activation of BODIPY fluorescence by the photoinduced dealkylation of a pyridinium quencher. Phys Chem Chem Phys. 15(36):14851-5. doi:10.1039/c3cp51580j.

    Pitter DR, Wigenius J, Brown AS, Baker JD, Westerlund F, Wilson JN. (2013) Turn-on, fluorescent nuclear stains with live cell compatibility. Org Lett. 15(6):1330-3.

    Boulina M, Samarajeewa H, Baker JD, Kim MD, Chiba A. (2013) Live imaging of multicolor-labeled cells in Drosophila. Development 140(7):1605-13

    Swaminathan, S., Petriella, M., Deniz, E., Cusido, J., Baker, J.D., Bossi, M.L., Raymo, F.M. (2012) Fluorescence photoactivation by intermolecular proton transfer. J. Phys. Chem. A. 116(40):9928-33.

    Baker, J.D., Adhikarakunnathu, S.D., and Kernan, M. (2004).    Mechanosensory-defective, male-sterile unc mutants identify a novel basal  body protein required for ciliogenesis in Drosophila. Development  131:3411-3422.