Edward A. Burton, MD, DPhil, FRCP

Professor of Neurology, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics


  • UPMC Endowed Chair in Movement Disorders

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Burton trained in general medicine and neurology at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK and in movement disorders at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London. He is principal investigator of a research group in the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative diseases, and divides his time between researching the molecular mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy, delivering clinical care to movement disorders patients at UPMC and Pittsburgh VA, and teaching neurology to medical students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Education & Training

  • FRCP, Royal College of Physicians of London (UK)
  • MD, University of Birmingham (UK), Neuroscience
  • DPhil, University of Oxford (UK), Molecular Biology
  • MB, ChB, University of Birmingham (UK), Medicine and Surgery
  • BSc, University of Birmingham (UK), Physiology

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests (Please list in short phrases)

Research: Research on the molecular mechanisms underlying Parkinson's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy; the development of new treatments

Clinical: Parkinson’s disease; progressive supranuclear palsy, dystonia, tremor

Education: Neurology

Board Certifications

  • Certificate of Completion of Specialty Training in Neurology (Joint Commission for Higher Specialist Training, UK)
  • Specialist Register of the General Medical Council UK
  • Unrestricted Licensure as Medical Physician, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Professional Organization Membership

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Movement Disorders Society
  • Association of British Neurologists

Honors & Awards

  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • Scientific Advisory Board, CurePSP
  • Chair, Parkinson Study Group, Symposia Committee 
  • Fellow, American Neurological Association 
  • Standing Member, NURE Review Panel
  • UPMC Neurology Residents' Clinical Teaching Award 2020
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs Clinican Scientist Investigator Award 2020

Selected Publications

Ilin VA, Bai Q, Watson AM, Volgushev M, Burton EAMechanism of Pacemaker Activity in Zebrafish DC2/4 Dopaminergic Neurons. J Neurosci. 2021 May 5;41(18):4141-4157. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2124-20.2021. Epub 2021 Mar 17. PMID: 33731451; PMCID: PMC8176752.

Van Laar VS, Chen J, Zharikov AD, Bai Q, Di Maio R, Dukes AA, Hastings TG, Watkins SC, Greenamyre JT, St Croix CM, Burton EAα-Synuclein amplifies cytoplasmic peroxide flux and oxidative stress provoked by mitochondrial inhibitors in CNS dopaminergic neurons in vivo. Redox Biol. 2020 Oct;37:101695. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2020.101695. Epub 2020 Aug 22. PMID: 32905883; PMCID: PMC7486459.

Xie W, Jiao B, Bai Q, Ilin VA, Sun M, Burton CE, Kolodieznyi D, Calderon MJ, Stolz DB, Opresko PL, St Croix CM, Watkins S, Van Houten B, Bruchez MP, Burton EAChemoptogenetic ablation of neuronal mitochondria in vivo with spatiotemporal precision and controllable severity. Elife. 2020 Mar 17;9:e51845. doi: 10.7554/eLife.51845. PMID: 32180546; PMCID: PMC7077989.

Zharikov A, Bai Q, De Miranda BR, Van Laar A, Greenamyre JT, Burton EALong-term RNAi knockdown of α-synuclein in the adult rat substantia nigra without neurodegeneration. Neurobiol Dis. 2019 May;125:146-153. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2019.01.004. Epub 2019 Jan 15. PMID: 30658149; PMCID: PMC6440542.

Scheetz SD, Shao E, Zhou Y, Cario CL, Bai Q, Burton EA. An open-source method to analyze optokinetic reflex responses in larval zebrafish. J Neurosci Methods. 2018 Jan 1;293:329-337. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.10.012. Epub 2017 Oct 16. PMID: 29042258; PMCID: PMC5708171.

Dukes, A.A., Bai, Q., Van Laar, V.S., Zhou, Y., Ilin, V., David, C.N., Agim, Z.S., Bonkowsky, J.L., Cannon, J.R., Watkins, S.C., Croix, C.M., Burton, E.A., and Berman, S.B. (2016). Live imaging of mitochondrial dynamics in CNS dopaminergic neurons in vivo demonstrates early reversal of mitochondrial transport following MPP(+) exposure. Neurobiol Dis 95, 238-249.

Zharikov AD, Cannon JR, Tapias V, Bai Q, Horowitz MP, Shah V, El Ayadi A, Hastings TG, Greenamyre JT, Burton EAshRNA targeting α-synuclein prevents neurodegeneration in a Parkinson's disease model. J Clin Invest. 2015 Jul 1;125(7):2721-35. doi: 10.1172/JCI64502. Epub 2015 Jun 15. PMID: 26075822; PMCID: PMC4563670.