The Cancer Microbiome

There are multitudes of microbes that live in and on the the human body. We're interested in exploring what changes we see in these communities that are associated with human cancer.

Host - microbe interactions

Finding an association between cancer and the microbiome is a great start, but we're also interested in understanding the directionality of the interactions - does cancer cause a change in the microbiome or does the microbiome change before the cancer? Maybe it's some of both?


Not only do we apply the process of science to our study of cancer and the microbiome, but to teaching as well. We're investigating what we can do in the classroom and in the lab to improve the training of the next generation of physicians, researchers, and citizen scientists.



Michael Burns, PhD

Dr. Burns has been studying cancer biology since 2008 and is leading a team of scientists to carry out bioinformatic and wet-lab analyses of the microbial communities found at tumor sites and how they interact with the tissue. 

You can find Dr. Burns' publications here.

The laboratory
and researchers

The Burns lab is housed on the 4th floor of the Quinlan Life Sciences Building on the Lakeshore campus of Loyola University Chicago. The lab is outfitted with state of the art equipment to allow for culturing and analyzing human tissues and microbial communities from patient samples.


If you are a postdoc, staff scientist, graduate student, or an undergraduate, the lab is always looking for talented, motivated members.

To apply, please send a cover letter that indicates your experience and interest along with a CV to the contact email address below.

If you are a LUC undergrad and are interested in joining the lab, please complete the application available at the Department of Biology Undergraduate Research Portal found here.


Contact us

Office: 773-508-3637

Lab: 773-508-2340

Office |  Quinlan LSB 424

Lab     |  Quinlan LSB 453

Mailing address:

Burns Lab

Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan Life Sciences Building, Room 317

1050 W. Sheridan Road

Chicago, IL 60626