James T. Barrett, 86, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology of the University of Missouri School of Medicine and a resident of Columbia, MO since 1957, died Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at home in Columbia. Dr. Barrett was born May 20, 1927, to Alfred Wesley Barrett and Mary Marjorie Taylor in Centerville, IA. During the years of his elementary education he lived in several towns in Southeast Iowa as his father was assigned to new territories by his employer. Eventually the family settled in Lamoni, IA where Jim’s father managed the bakery for the company that later became the HyVee grocery chain. Jim graduated from Lamoni, IA High School in 1944, where he participated in sports, theater, and music and entered the University of Iowa which he attended for one year before volunteering for duty in the Navy. He returned to finish his education at the University of Iowa where he earned his BA, MA and PhD degrees in 1950, 1951, and 1953 respectively.
After an initial employment from 1953 to 1957 at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, Dr. Barrett joined the faculty of the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology (name later changed to Molecular Microbiology and Immunology). After several promotions, Dr. Barrett retired in 1994 as a full professor. During his 37 year career at MU, Dr. Barrett was active in both research and teaching with grant support from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Academy of Science, the Fulbright Program and international donors. His first NIH research fellowship for international studies was to Sweden where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. O. Ouchterlony in Gothenburg, Sweden during the academic year 1963 – 64.
In 1970 – 71, he returned to Sweden for an additional year of research in Gothenburg in the laboratories of Dr. Lars A, Hansson to study the immune system in new born infants. During that year, he also accepted a National Academy of Sciences award as an exchange scientist to Romania for a period of six weeks. The 1977 – 78 year was spent in Munich, Germany doing research in the School of Veterinary Medicine in Ludwig Maximilian Univerisitat on causes of diarrhea.
In autumn of 1984, during a Fulbright Fellowship to Uruguay an honorary M.D. was awarded to Dr. Barrett for his meritorious service to the Facultad de Medicina de la Republica Oriental de la Universidad de Uruguay. In the winter of 1986 – 87, Dr. Barrett was in Madrid, Spain holding a Spanish fellowship for the evaluation of research and technology in that country.
Teaching accomplishments of Dr. Barrett include his 1969 summer professorship, courtesy of the Taiwanese Academy of Science, to teach immunology in a summer program in Taiwan. A Fulbright fellowship supported a similar project in Uruguay in 1984. The Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico, invited Dr. Barrett on several occasions each year from 1984 to 1994 to participate in their program for North American medical students, serving variously as lecturer, reviewer and examiner. Interest in travel also led Dr. Barrett to Nigeria and Thailand for teaching assignments in medical schools there.
Noteworthy among his educational activities is Dr. Barrett’s authorship of his “Textbook of Immunology”. This text was adopted in American universities and was published in five editions over a period of twenty years success of this text is attributed to the inclusion of scientific readings to support the information in the text, a glossary of immunological terms, review questions and case history vignettes, the latter being among the first used in medical texts. This text was translated into Spanish in all of its editions. A second text directed to medical students entitled “Basic Immunology and its Medical Application” was successful in this country and was translated into Japanese. Review texts under Dr. Barrett’s authorship include “Medical Immunology: Text and Review”, “Microbiology and Immunology Casebook, and “Microbiology and Immunology Concepts”, the latter appearing also in the Greek language.
After his retirement from the University of Missouri in 1994, Dr. Barrett accepted the position of Director of Microbiology at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies, a position he held for six years. For the succeeding two years, he was a part-time adjunct professor in that same department and with the Department of Clinical Pathology in the School of Veterinary Medicine.
From 2009 until 2013, Dr. Barrett was a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Trinity School of Medicine, St. Vincent, West Indies.
A memorial service will be held at 1:30 pm, on Sunday, December 8, 2013, at Memorial Funeral Home, Columbia, MO.
Survivors include: his wife, Barbro of Columbia; his daughters: Sara Madole of Gladstone, MO, Annika Lunceford and Nina Davolt of Columbia; son: Robert Barrett of Columbia and eight grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father, mother, and a brother, Wayne Barrett.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to EllisFischelGiving.org.
Online condolences may be left at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.