After earning his PhD from The University of Pennsylvania medical school he was offered a faculty position and performed groundbreaking research on causes of disease. His work was published in leading international journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Neuron, the Journal of experimental Medicine and Science.
Dr. Burns established the first diagnostic molecular pathology laboratory at the MCP/Hahnemann (Now Drexel) medical school and latter directed the molecular Pathology and onco-cytogentics laboratories at Thomas Jefferson Medical school. He continued research on the underlying mechanisms of disease while developing and putting into use nucleic acid-based tests for patient diagnosis. He was one of the founding members of the Association for Molecular Pathology and co-authored the first set of guidelines for teaching nucleic acid-based diagnostics to medical residents in pathology programs. His laboratory was first in the Delaware Valley to offer HIV viral load testing for patients not in research programs at a time when the early detection of treatment failure provided by this method was critical to keeping patients alive.
An opportunity to actually prevent disease, rather than diagnose and guide its treatment beckoned and Dr. Burns joined Qualicon, a small biotech company in Wilmington, developing DNA based methods to screen the food supply for pathogens. DuPont, one of the partners in the Qualicon business, took over the company. Dr. Burns developed, patented, and DuPont commercialized several improved diagnostic methods for pathogen detection in food production. Several of these methods were adopted world-wide by industry and government food safety regulators agencies alike. Dr. Burns then decided to strike out on his own and formed BioPrimate LLC with its clearly stated objective “Our mission is to unblock the potential of the microbial universe to benefit humanity”.
Frank has been a fighter for a better future both inside and outside the laboratory. In addition to giving testimony at county council and comment before committee at legislative hall in Dover, Dr. Burns has organized and/or taken part in multiple marches and protests to urge our elected officials to do the right thing. He is not afraid to make politicians of any party feel the heat if they are failing us.
Dr. Burns volunteered with both professional and community organizations including: Chairing divisions in both the American Society for Microbiology and the International Association for Food Protection, mentoring medal winning teams of high school students from across Baltimore in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (IGEM) competition, and with Food Bank of Delaware and The Delaware Medical Reserve Corps (RESPOND DE) at COVIDtesting, vaccination, mass evacuation and informational events.
Frank lives in Roseville Park with his son Thomas.
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Change for the 21st, Dr. Frank Burns for Delaware
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