Loyola University Chicago

Department of Biology

Michael Burns


Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 2013, University of Minnesota
Molecular biology; Bioinformatics;
Cancer biology; Microbiome research
Phone: 773.508.3637
Fax: 773.508.3646


The work in my lab is focused on uncovering interactions between the microbiome and cancer in human patients. The lab uses data collected from next-generation sequencing technologies to survey the composition and structure of the microbiome in patient samples and applies advanced statistical approaches to identify significant interactions. These interactions are then further examined using traditional wet-lab approaches, including gene expression profiling, and human tissue culture.

Further information about our work can be found at the lab’s site:



Richards AL, Burns MB, Alazizi A, Barreiro LB, Pique-Regi R, Blekhman R, and Luca F. Genetic and transcriptional analysis of human host response to healthy gut microbiota. mSystems (2016), vol. 1, issue 4, pii: e00067-16.

Burns MB, Lynch J, Starr TK, Knights D, Blekhman R. Virulence genes are a signature of the microbiome in the colorectal tumor microenvironment. Genome Medicine (2015) vol. 7, issue 155.

Burns MB, Leonard B, Harris RS. APOBEC3B – pathological consequences of an innate immune mutator. (Solicited review) Biomedical Journal (2015) vol. 38, pp. 102–110.

Sieuwerts AM, Willis S, Burns MB, Look MP, Gelder ME, Schlicker A, et al.. Elevated APOBEC3B Correlates with Poor Outcomes for Estrogen-Receptor-Positive Breast Cancers. Hormones and Cancer (2014) vol. 5, issue 6, pp 405-413.

Burns MB, Temiz NA, Harris RS. Evidence for APOBEC3B mutagenesis in multiple human cancers. Nature Genetics (2013) vol. 45 pp. 1-7.

Burns MB*, Lackey LL*, Carpenter MA, Rathore A, Land AM, Leonard B, et al.. APOBEC3B is an enzymatic source of mutation in breast cancer. Nature (2013) vol. 494 pp. 366-370.

Stenglein MD, Burns MB, Li M, Lengyel J, Harris RS. APOBEC3 proteins mediate the clearance of foreign DNA from human cells. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology (2010) vol. 17 pp. 222-229.