Robert Burk, MD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

Dr. Burk is an authority on the genomics and evolution of human papillomaviruses (HPV), which cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer. His team was the first to report, in the New England Journal of Medicine, that the vast majority of HPV infections in young women are short-lived and don’t require treatment. More recently, his lab is utilizing Next-Gen sequencing to study papillomavirus genomics and methylation of the viral genome. His lab utilized this new technology to identify HPV16 and beta- and gamma-HPVs associated with head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCCs).

Dr. Burk is currently the Chair of the Papillomavirus Working Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses Papillomavirus, which is responsible for developing a classification system for these cancer-causing viruses.

In other research, Dr. Burk is conducting genetic studies of prostate cancer in men of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and was the first to connect aggressive forms of the disease with BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which were originally linked with breast cancer in women. In addition, Dr. Burk in collaboration with Dr. Steven Keller is working on a project to identify the genes involved in excessive sweating conditions known as hyperhidrosis.

Dr. Burk was elected in 2015 as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).