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John M. Burke

Distinguished Research Professor and Department Head
Plant Biology
Miller Plant Sciences, Rm 4604
Lab Phone:
Miller Plant Sciences, Rm 4615/17
Office Phone:
Research Interests:

Our primary focus is plant evolutionary genetics and genomics. More specifically, we're studying the genetic basis of evolutionary divergence within the sunflower family (i.e., the Compositae or the Asteraceae). We also maintain an interest in the ecological and evolutionary impact of transgene escape from genetically modified crops into their wild relatives.

  • USDA-NIFA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants (BRAG) Program (Award #2016-33522-25630). Short-term experiments as predictors of long-term patterns of gene introgression in crop-wild hybrids. 09/01/2016-08/31/2019. (lead PI w/1 co-PI).

  • NSF Plant Genome Research Program (Award #IOS-1444522). 08/15/15-07/31/20. Evolutionary genomics of abiotic stress resistance in wild and cultivated sunflowers. (lead PI w/5 co-PIs).

  • Genome Canada – Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition. 10/01/15-09/30/19. Genomics of abiotic stress resistance in wild and cultivated sunflowers. $7,879,009 (co-Project Leader w/6 co-PIs).
  • Industry Consortium. 01/15/12-01/14/19. Sunflower genomic resources. $840,000 (one of 3 co-PIs; $280,000 to UGA w/additional funds under negotiation).

1994-1999     Ph.D. in Genetics, University of Georgia
1989-1993     B.S. in Genetics and Cell Biology, Minor in Statistics, University of Minnesota

Of note:

University of Georgia Distinguished Research Professor (2019)

University of Georgia Lothar Tresp Outstanding Honors Professor (2017)

University of Georgia Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award (2016)

National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences (2013)

University of Georgia Creative Research Medal (2013)

Articles Featuring John M. Burke

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 6:08pm

After six years of exemplary leadership, Lisa Donovan handed over the reigns of the Plant Biology Department to John Burke on August 1st, 2020. During her tenure Lisa led the Department to new heights and was also instrumental in envisioning and implementing…

Friday, July 10, 2020 - 11:31am

John Burke and Lisa Donovan along with colleagues from British Columbia uncovered a set of "supergenes" that help sunflowers adapt to different environments and are contributing to the amazing diversity in sunflower species today. Because the wild species…

Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 4:00pm

Dr. John Burke was recently awarded the title of "Distinguished Research Professor." This title is awarded to faculty who are internationally recognized for their original contributions to knowledge and whose work promises to foster continued creativity in…

Lab Personnel

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Graduate Student

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