Researcher Spotlight: Linda Baker, M.D.

Dr. Baker is a NIH-funded physician scientist and board-certified pediatric urologist specializing in the surgical reconstruction and study of complex congenital birth defects of the genitourinary tract. Dr. Baker completed her urology residency at the University of Virginia and became an American Foundation for Urological Disease Research Scholar, studying the molecular basis of renal and genitourinary development. After her time there, she was a Fellow in Pediatric Urology at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. She joined the Department of Urology at UT Southwestern in 1999 and created a thriving research program in pediatric urology. Dr. Baker became Director of Pediatric Urology Research in 2001 after receiving her first NIH R01 and was promoted to Professor of Urology in 2008. 

Currently, she is the Director of Pediatric Urology Research at UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center. She holds secondary faculty appointments in the UT Southwestern McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development/Genetics, the Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research, and the Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Genetics and Development Graduate Program.

She has served on numerous NIH study sections, several NIH planning committees, and is active in the American Urological Association Foundation Research Council and the Society for Pediatric Urology Research Advisory Council.

She is reviewer for many journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. From 2012-2014, she served on the American Urological Association (AUA) Guidelines Panel for Cryptorchidism, co-authoring the treatment guidelines statement.

She has been faculty on several national training courses for laparoscopic or robotic surgery, has authored 120 published abstracts, 20 book chapters, 6 invited review articles, and 97 peer-reviewed publications, has a medical device patent, and has held 18 visiting professorships nationally and internationally.

Dr. Baker is Course Director for the annual international training course webinar, "Vaginoplasty for Birth Defects or Surgical Complications and the Oral Buccal Mucosa Technique."  She has received many awards, most recently including the 2014 John W. Duckett, MD Pediatric Urology Research Excellence Award given by the AUA Urology Care Foundation.

As a board-certified pediatric urologist, she specializes in the surgical reconstruction of complex congenital birth defects of the genitourinary tract, including prune belly syndrome; disorders of sexual development; undescended testes (cryptorchidism); testicular torsion; and congenital female vaginal anomalies. 

An NIH-funded investigator, Dr. Baker directs her 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 genetic, embryonic and molecular basis of rare and common birth defects including prune belly syndrome, female reproductive anomalies, VACTERL association, hypospadias, anorectal malformations, bladder exstrophy and epispadias, as well as to delineate hormonal and molecular mechanisms mediating cryptorchidism and testicular torsion.

She has strong translational genetic research interest in pediatric urolithiasis. Using genetically engineered mouse models, her research laboratory studies the causes of pediatric urological birth defects. With a personalized medicine approach, her research team recruits individuals with pediatric urological birth defects and disorders and performs cutting edge DNA testing using next generation sequencing technologies to discover the cause of pediatric urological disorders and birth defects, thus achieving bench-to-bedside research.

Dr. Baker was included in D Magazine's Best Doctors list for 2018.

Personal Note:

Dr. Baker lives in Southlake, TX with her husband, Ken, and children Amanda and Andrew.

Her research interests are:

  • Causes of disorders of sexual development
  • Causes of hypospadias
  • Causes of undescended testes and testicular torsion
  • Pediatric renal stone disease
  • Inherited or familial birth defects of the genitourinary tract
  • Genetic Basis of Prune Belly Syndrome
  • Genetic basis of female reproductive birth defects


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