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Microbiome interactions between human cancers and other pathologies

There are multitudes of microbes that live in and on the human body. We're interested in exploring what changes we see in these communities that are associated with human cancers. Human cancers are incredibly varied, as is the human microbiome. Researchers in the lab are working on wide-ranging projects including evaluations of skin cancers, breast cancers, and colorectal cancers.  

Patient outcomes and the microbiome

It's one thing to identify patterns in the microbiome that track with a disease or something going wrong. But what then? Collaborative work in the lab relies on direct interation with clinicians and their patients - we're working to identify shifts in the microbiome, primarily in patients with skin disorders (cutaneous t-cell lymphoma, epidermolysis bullosa, and others) to identify at-risk populations and assess potential interventions.

Science Communication and Community Outreach

We are currently facing some of the most consequential changes to our way of life and to civilization generally. Our ability to respond to global pandemics, climate change, antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, bioterrorism, and a host of other threats depends on collective responses. Recent events have highlighted glaring deficiencies in our ability to do so. There are several projects in the lab focused on community outreach and science communication to address this challenge. 



Michael Burns, PhD

Dr. Burns is a cancer molecular geneticist, bioinformaticist, metagenomics expert, educator, and science communicator leading a team of scientists to work on projects related to these topics.

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. We are primarily recruiting people with some familiarity with programming in R/Python/shell, and statistics.

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.

Meet the lab

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

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