The College of Life Sciences is excited to welcome Dr. Jared Barrott as a new associate professor of cell biology and physiology. Barrott’s scientific and spiritual preparation enables him to find more effective treatment options for sarcoma cancers.
“In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.”
Barrot feels like this famous quote by Louis Pasteur applies well to his professional journey. For Barrot, a prepared mind is one that is both scientifically trained and open to the guidance of the Spirit.
In graduate school at Duke University, Barrott worked on developing a new medicine to treat dengue fever—a virus that infects the liver and other areas of the body. While observing liver cancer cells not infected with the virus—one of the controls for the experiment—Barrott made a surprising discovery: the antiviral drug was having an effect upon the liver cancer cells. While he didn’t consider it as divine guidance at the time, Barrot now believes the Spirit guided his observations to make a discovery that would bless people’s lives. After the discovery, Barrott’s career shifted from anti-viral to anti-cancer and he spent the next four years researching the medicine’s anti-cancer properties. The drug was patented in 2013.
Barrott also believes that the influence of the Spirit led him to take a position studying sarcoma cancers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake. He has continued to study these cancer forms that develop in bone and soft tissues, particularly in children and adolescents. In Barrott’s lab, he tests treatments for bone and muscle cancers by using traditional cancer cell lines and 3D tumor organoid models. He is also interested in using antibody-drug conjugates, a type of targeted drug therapy that destroys cancer cells without damaging healthy cells.
To students interested in making an impact through cancer research, Barrott says that being prepared doesn't mean you need to enter a lab with an existing knowledge about the research topic. Rather, professors are “looking for somebody who will put in the time and effort, work hard, and just be teachable." With this kind of perspective, Barrott predicts, “you'll come to a faster understanding of where you can make those impacts.” Barrott is hopeful for the future of cancer research at BYU. “Our best years are still ahead of us here at BYU in terms of cancer research, and if [you] are interested, get involved earlier rather than later. . . . There are so many ways that you can get involved.”
Barrott, his wife, his daughter, and his four sons love to mountain bike and ski—which provides them year-round family activities. When not in the mountains with his family, you might find Barrott shooting a basketball or swinging a golf club. If it's a Monday, you'll probably see him wearing a bowtie. Whatever day it is, Barrott is prepared to shape the future of cancer research.