Ph.D. Zurich University
Telephone: +61 3 9905 9531
Fax: +61 3 9905 5613
Dr Richard Burke joined the School of Biological Sciences as a Lecturer of Genetics in 2006. His education in the biological sciences began at the University of Melbourne where he majored in Genetics and completed a BSc (Hons). A PhD followed at the Molecular Biology Institute, Zurich University. After receiving his doctorate Richard joined the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (2000-2002) where he researched the molecular basis of apoptosis in human cancer cells. As a research fellow at the Genetics Department of the University of Melbourne (2002-2006) Richard's research focus moved to mechanisms of copper homeostasis in the vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster.
At the Monash University School of Biological Sciences Richard leads a research team that use Drosophilaas a model system in which to study the genetics of heavy metal metabolism in animals. Metals such as copper, zinc and iron are essential for the health of all animals, however, they become highly toxic when present in excess and animals must maintain tight control over metal levels in various organs.
Sophisticated genetic techniques in Drosophila allow the identification new genes controlling metal metabolism and enable the manipulation of known metal transport genes in specific cell types. The Burke group has also explored the use of high energy X-rays generated by the Australian Synchrotron to detect metal levels in biological samples, allowing the direct imaging of changes in metal distribution caused by genetic manipulation of copper and zinc transport genes.