david t. burke, phd


Professor, Human Genetics


The Burke Laboratory research effort is concentrated in three main areas: (1) quantitative trait analysis of complex, multigenic traits in synthetic populations of the laboratory mouse, (2) the development of engineering systems for microfluidic analysis, and (3) low cost technology systems for health care delivery.

The first research area is a collaborative effort with other investigators at the University of Michigan to identify regions of the mouse genome correlated with inter-individual variation in complex adult phenotypes. Several phenotypic measures are examined in parallel, including body mass, T-cell populations, circulating hormones, bone structure, late-life hearing loss, and cancer incidence. We have identified gene locations associated with several late-life phenotypes, using a reproducible, genetically heterogeneous laboratory mouse "synthetic" population. The second project is a collaborative effort with Dr. Mark Burns (University of Michigan, Department of Chemical Engineering), and is developing a high-throughput DNA genotype analysis systems that can be provided to researchers and clinicians at low cost. The microfluidic devices: a) require human interaction only for initial loading of samples, b) provide consistent experimental processing and quality control, c) decrease sample processing time and human labor, d) reduce reagent costs by reducing the genotyping biochemistry to nanoliter volumes, and e) be fully controlled by integrated circuitry. The third area of work is a newly established cross-disciplinary research effort that will attempt to bring low cost technologies to clinics and clinical researchers. The focus is on developing advanced technologies that are readily manufactured, robust, and distributed.

Dr. Burke is a graduate of the University of Rochester (BS, Biological Sciences) and Washington University in St. Louis (PhD, Genetics). He has been a faculty member in the Department of Human Genetics since 1991.