McMaster University

McMaster University

Ronald Barr

Ronald Barr

Dr. Barr was born in Scotland and attended the University of Glasgow where he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine (MB, ChB with commendation) in 1966. After training in internal medicine and hematology, he spent two years at the University of Nairobi (Kenya) where he helped establish the Faculty of Medicine. There he began his involvement in the care of children with blood diseases and cancer.

After two years as a Visiting Scientist at the National Cancer Institute in the USA, and a brief return to Scotland where his research earned him the degree of MD with honors, Dr. Barr joined the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University in 1977. He is currently a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Pathology and Medicine, and completed 30 years as the Chief of Hematology-Oncology at McMaster Children's Hospital. Dr. Barr's main area of investigative activity is outcomes research in pediatric hematology-oncology, particularly in the measurement of health status and health-related quality of life, and in the adverse effects of cancer treatment on bone health. He has published more than 450 scientific articles and has written and contributed to several books on cancer in childhood and adolescence.

Dr. Barr's long-standing involvement in international health is reflected in his continuing work with a consortium of colleagues in Central America. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health in the United Kingdom and a Fellow by election of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in Glasgow, London and Canada; the American College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists.

Research Program Overview

The consequences of the disease and its treatment are studied in survivors of cancer in childhood. A specific focus is on nutritional morbidity during and after therapy while other studies take a broader view by measuring the health-related quality of life in survivors. These investigations are undertaken locally and nationally, as well as in developing countries where the vast majority of children with cancer reside.

Current Projects

  • Bone health and body composition in children who are long term survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Development of a new measure of health-related quality of life for pre-school age children

Publications & Achievements

  • Barr RD, Nayiager T, Gordon C, Marriott C, Athale U. Body composition and bone health in long term survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in childhood and adolescence: the protocol for a cross-sectional cohort study. BMJ Open 2015; 5: e 006191.
  • Rayar M, Webber CE, Nayiager T, Sala A, Barr RD. Sarcopenia in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2013; 35: 98-102.
  • Barr RD, Antillon Klussmann F, Baez F et al. Asociación Hemato-Oncología Pediátrica de Centro América (AHOPCA): a model for sustainable development in pediatric oncology. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2014; 61: 345-354.
  • Sala A, Rossi E, Antillon F et al. Nutritional status at diagnosis is related to clinical outcomes in children and adolescents with cancer: A perspective from Central America. Eur J cancer 2012; 48: 243-252.
  • Barr RD, Ferrari A, Ries L, Whelan J, Bleyer A. Cancer in adolescents and young adults: A narrative review of the current status and a view of the future. JAMA Pediatr 2016; 170: 495-501.
  • Bleyer A, Barr R. Ries L, Whelan J, Ferrari A (editors). Cancer in Adolescents and Young Adults. Cham, Springer 2017
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