Barrett's research involves nearly every major aspect of behavioral pharmacology, with particular emphasis on the behavioral determinants of drug action. A landmark study of his showed that a specific behavioral history could impact the behavioral effects of drugs in an orderly and predictable fashion. Barrett has also dedicated a great deal of research to drug discovery and development, cognitive neuroscience, CNS plasticity, and pain.
In addition to his research accomplishments, Barrett is the co-director of Drexel University College of Medicine's Master of Science degree program in Drug Discovery and Development, which he established and launched in 2011 to help more fully instruct students on pharmaceutical industry career development. The program provides a range of understanding, from the early identification of a molecular target, through the multiple steps involved in preclinical assessment, development and ultimately, approval and post-marketing activities of new medicines.
Prior to joining Drexel University College of Medicine, Barrett served as senior vice president of research and development, and chief scientific officer and president of research at Adolor Corporation. Before that, he served as president of research and development at Memory Pharmaceuticals and as vice president of neuroscience development research at Wyeth. In addition, Barrett has held academic appointments with Columbia University, Rutgers University and the University of Maryland.
Barrett earned his doctoral degree in psychology/neurobiology from Pennsylvania State University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology, neuropsychopharmacology and behavioral pharmacology at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology.
He is on the editorial board of many journals, such as Behavioural Pharmacology, Psychopharmacology, and Neuropsychopharmacology. For almost 30 years, he has served as a special review consultant for the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Mental Health, including chairman of various initial review groups and special review committees. In addition, Barrett has published nearly 400 scientific papers and abstracts and has co-authored three books.
Throughout his career, Barrett has been recognized by many colleagues for his great commitment and dedication to teaching and mentoring. He will be presented the 2012 P.B. Dews Lifetime Achievement Award in Behavioral Pharmacology at ASPET's Annual Meeting in April in San Diego, California.