Dr. Baker received her MD from the University of Louisville Medical School in 1989 and completed her urology residency at the University of Virginia from 1989-1995. She became an esteemed American Foundation for Urological Disease Research Scholar from 1995-1997. During this time, she investigated the molecular basis of renal and genitourinary development with an NIH MERIT award-holding pediatric nephrologist, R. Ariel Gomez, MD. From 1997-1999, she was a Pediatric Urology Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, studying with Drs. John Gearhart and Steven Docimo. She was appointed Assistant Professor of Urology at UT Southwestern in 1999 and created a thriving research program in pediatric urology. She became Director of Pediatric Urology Research in 2001 after receiving her first NIH R01. She was promoted to Associate Professor of Urology in 2004 and Professor of Urology in 2008. She holds a UT Southwestern secondary appointment with the Center for Human Genetics / McDermott Center for Human Growth & Development and the Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research. She also has a faculty appointment in the UT Southwestern Genetics and Development Graduate Program and participates in the UT Southwestern K12 Clinical Scientist Training Program and the T32 Medical Scientist Training Program. She has coauthored 16 book chapters and over 65 peer reviewed publications, and is a frequent reviewer for the NIH.
As a practicing pediatric urologist, Dr. Baker specializes in the surgical reconstruction of complex congenital birth defects of the genitourinary tract, including intersex disorders; the causes and treatment of undescended testes; testicular torsion; and hypospadias. While maintaining a busy clinical practice, Dr. Baker directs an NIH-funded molecular biology research program spanning basic science, translational and clinical research on pediatric genitourinary diseases and congenital defects. The major goals of this research are to understand the embryonic and molecular basis of rare and common birth defects including VACTERL association, hypospadias, anorectal malformations, bladder exstrophy and epispadias, as well as to delineate hormonal and molecular mechanisms mediating cryptorchidism and testicular torsion. To achieve these aims, she has built a large and valuable human DNA and tissue repository from sporadic and familial cases of common and rare pediatric genitourinary birth defects and disorders. Her laboratory uses genetically engineered mouse models of pediatric urologic birth defects to further study these disorders, thus striving to achieve bench-to-bedside research.