University of Vermont

University Communications


Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Public Relations:Jennifer Nachbur, 8026567875
Biography:Burke is a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics in the College of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in biology in 1983 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied intron organization in Neurospora mitochondrial genes with Tom RajBhandary. He was Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Williams College before joining the UVM faculty in 1988. Burke's lab research focuses on catalytic RNA molecules, or ribozymes, employing both hairpin and hammerhead ribozymes. His projects focus on four major aspects of ribozyme research: (1) molecular structures, (2) RNA conformational changes, (3) catalytic mechanisms, and (4) applying ribozyme technology to gene therapy and functional genomics. A wide range of complementary experimental methods are employed in his lab, including combinatorial selection, fluorescence spectroscopy, computational biology, kinetics, and experimental virology. Together, these experimental approaches provide Burke and his collegues with the ability to conduct a comprehensive analysis of ribozyme structure, activity, and applications.