Burne to be Honored at Celebrating Distinction Event Oct. 26

Robert A. Burne, Ph.D.

University of Florida College of Dentistry Associate Dean for Research Robert Burne, Ph.D., will be among the distinguished UF Academic Health Center faculty honored at UF Health’s Celebrating Distinction event Oct. 26 at the McKnight Brain Institute.

During the annual event, UF Health President Dr. David Guzick honors all UF Academic Health Center faculty who have recently been appointed to endowed positions.

Burne, distinguished professor and chair of UFCD’s Department of Oral Biology, will be installed as the Louis and Marge Atkins Endowed Professor on Oct. 26.

The gift was funded by the estate of Dr. Louis and Mrs. Marge Atkins to support a professorship in the UF College of Dentistry. Dr. Louis Atkins’ tireless commitment helped lead to the opening of UF’s College of Dentistry in 1972, and his love for the Gators brought him into leadership positions with the UF Health Science Center, the UF Foundation and Gator Boosters, among many other groups. He passed away in 1997. Marge Atkins relocated to Oak Hammock and remained active with UF until her death in 2016.

The primary interests in Burne’s laboratory are in the molecular mechanisms governing the ability of bacteria that are capable of causing diseases in humans to modulate their virulence in response to environmental influences.

Burne and UFCD colleague Marcelle Nascimento, D.D.S., Ph.D., recently identified a new strain of bacteria in the mouth that may keep bad bacteria in check — and could lead to a way to prevent cavities using probiotics.

This year Burne was elected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as a member-at-large to the section on Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences. He is currently in the midst of a four-year term with the AAAS that runs February 21, 2017, to February 15, 2021.

Burne, who accepted the role of associate dean for research at UFCD in 2010 and was named distinguished professor in 2011, earned his undergraduate degree in microbiology from Pennsylvania State University in 1981, then went on to earn his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Rochester in 1987.