Dr. Burke’s research interests are in the area of organic chemistry with a specific focus on the synthesis and study of small molecules with protein-like functions. His research includes “Lego Chemistry”, which is synthesizing small molecules to be used for scientific research through using amino acid building blocks. Molecular Prosthetics, another area of his research, is the use of small molecules to perform protein-like functions to promote physiological restoration. He also studies antifungals, specifically for the fungal pathogens, Candida and Aspergillus. His research aims to find a way to make a derivative of the toxic, but effective, drug AmB to fight off deadly fungal infections.
Burke completed his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1998 and his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2003. After completing an M.D. at Harvard Medical School, he joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois in June of 2005. He is also affiliated with the Department of Biochemistry and he is an Associate Dean for Research at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. He is a Professor at Carl R Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, for Biomedical and Translational Sciences, and at Beckman Insitute for Advanced Science and Technology.