Dr. Burton is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and also affiliated with UMN’s Masonic Cancer Center & Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. He obtained his BS & BA degrees in Biology & Philosophy at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi; his PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Clyde A. Hutchison III & Marshall Edgell (inventing oligonucleotide-directed DNA synthesis & cloning techniques and discovering the mammalian LINES-1 repetitive DNA); and his postdoctoral training with J. Gregor Sutcliffe & Floyd Bloom at The Scripps Research Institute-La Jolla, California (inventing “physiological engineering” with a cyclic AMP-elevating transgene). While Assistant & part-time Associate Professor at UMN, his faculty research included the first transgenic "brain circuit-test" and the first transgenic mouse model of Tourette's Syndrome (TS) and comorbid Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) & trichotillomania (TTM), from which his model of hyperglutamatergic corticostriatal circuitry in these disorders stimulated clinical validation of D1 antagonist, antiglutamatergic, and opioid antagonist drugs to treat them. He’s now also a small pharma, biotech, & medtech entrepreneur who continues lecturing for Pharmacology while maintaining a small basic & translational academic UMN research lab at Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC’s) Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute (HHRI).
Dr. Burton’s UMN-associated research pursuits & academic interests include: 1) syncretic and orphan drugs to reprogram tic & compulsion circuit output, 2) cancer "bottleneck" genes, 3) aging “trapdoor” genes, 4) supercomputer-aided design of abiogenic non-replicative psychrophilic oligonucleotide reproduction & bioelectrically-conductive laminar DNA superstructures, 5) orphan and off-label drugs to speed insensate wound repair, 6) orphan-to-large market biologics to prevent and reverse infectious diarrheal disease, and 7) retrodictive foundational interpretations of quantum mechanics. Dr. Burton's non-UMN-associated entrepreneurial pursuits include: A) preventive treatments for cold-induced asthma, Raynaud’s syndrome, and hypothermia; B) behavioral informatics software.