A distinguished University professorship recognizes eminence in several fields of study, transcending accomplishments in and contributions to a single discipline. Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg made the appointment, effective July 1, based on the recommendations of Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson.
Donald S. Burke, MD, is the inaugural University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Jonas Salk Professor of Global Health and the GSPH dean. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on the prevention, diagnosis, and control of infectious diseases of global concern, including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis A, avian influenza, and emerging infectious diseases.
In addition to holding a named professorship and serving as dean of GSPH, Burke is director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research and serves in the newly established position of associate vice chancellor for global health, health sciences. In 2009, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in health and medicine.
Before joining the University of Pittsburgh, Burke was a professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he served as associate chair of the Department of International Health and director of the Center for Immunization Research. He also was principal investigator of National Institutes of Health-supported research projects on HIV vaccines, biodefense, and emerging infectious diseases.
Prior to his tenure at Johns Hopkins, Burke served 23 years on active duty in the U.S. Army, leading military infectious disease research at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C., and at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Bangkok, Thailand. He retired at the rank of colonel.
Burke’s career-long mission has been prevention and mitigation of the impact of epidemic infectious diseases of global importance. His research activities have spanned a wide range of science “from the bench to the bush,” including development of new diagnostics, population-based field studies, clinical vaccine trials, computational modeling of epidemic control strategies, and policy analysis. He has authored or coauthored more than 200 research reports. Burke earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1971 and his BA degree from Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1967.