Drew University Professor To Appear in Jeopardy! Tournament

Brianne Barker returns after 2022 victory

November 2023 – Drew University Associate Professor and Chair of Biology Brianne Barker has been invited back to Jeopardy!

Barker will take part in the Jeopardy! Champions Wildcard competition. The winner will automatically qualify for the larger Tournament of Champions. Barker’s quarterfinals appearance will air this Friday, December 1.

Barker, a virology expert, first appeared on Jeopardy in July 2022 donning lucky virus-themed earrings.

She won in her debut after a strategic Final Jeopardy! wager, and even got a COVID question. (She answered correctly in the “Acceptable 2-Letter Scrabble Words” category; “xi” was indeed the second Greek letter skipped when naming COVID variants).

Despite being a returning champion, Barker admitted to another round of nerves this time around.

“The experience was amazing and also stressful,” said Barker, who taped during the fall 2023 semester in November. “I definitely didn’t have time to do any prep while managing the semester.”

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Barker with host Ken Jennings

Barker was excited she could bring friends and family this time around after being unable to do so in 2022 due to COVID protocols.

“This time, we had a full studio audience, including my mom and my college roommate, who both made the trip to LA with me. Not being able to have friends or family in the audience really was the one thing I felt I had missed out on last time, so it was especially great to have them there.”

Barker is a co-host of the podcast This Week in Virology. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke and her PhD from Harvard.

Read what Barker had to say before the airing of her first episode here, and a Q&A following her appearances here.

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