McGill University Department of Chemistry Analytical/Environmental Chemical Biology Chemical Physics Materials Chemistry Synthesis/Catalysis  
Chemical Biology Profs.
Auclair, Karine
Bohle, Scott
Burns, David
Cosa, Gonzalo
Damha, Masad
Galley, William
Gleason, James
Guindon, Yvan
Lumb, Jean-Philip
Mauzeroll, Janine
Mittermaier, Tony
Moitessier, Nicolas
Ronis, David
Sleiman, Hanadi
Tsantrizos, Youla
Wiseman, Paul
David H. Burns
David H. Burns

Adjunct Professor

B.Sc. (University of Puget Sound, 1979)
Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1984)
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow (U. Washington, 1985-87)
Barringer Award in Spectroscopy, 1999
S.S.C, McBride Medal for Analytical Chemistry 2000 C.S.C.
Associate Member, Department of Experimental Medicine
Office: 309A
Phone: (514)398-6933
Email: David.Burns@McGill.CA
Web Page:

Lab: 215
Lab Phone: (514)398-6242

Research Themes:

Research Description:
The focus of my research is to develop quantitative non-invasive or minimally invasive measurements of composition and bioenergetic status in biological systems. This effort involves the science of optical spectroscopy, chemometrics, biophysics, image processing, and light propagation physics. There are three distinct facets to the research: (1) development of methodologies to quantify bioenergetic markers of metabolism, (2) development of strategies for quantitative three-dimensional measurements in scattering media, and (3) development of techniques for measurement of low concentration species in biological fluids and food stuffs. The knowledge gained from this approach will provide a powerful new tool to study respiration and metabolism from a systems viewpoint. Current projects include:

An optical system for quantitative measurement of muscle myoglobin oxygen saturation in the presence of hemoglobin and cytochrome interference is being developed using near-infrared spectroscopy and chemometric analysis. Similar systems are also being developed for to measure edema (swelling) and lactic acid (lactate) concentration in tissue.

An optical tomography system for quantitative three-dimensional imaging of absorbing samples in scattering media is being developed using time-of-flight photon detection and mathematical models of light propagation. An example of the calculated time dependent path of photons through tissue is shown below. We are now constructing a hand held multiwavelength time of flight system for routine measurements.

To extend the optical measurements to low concentration analytes, we are developing optical micro and nano-probes made from polymer gels fashioned into small structures which structurally change upon analyte binding. A phase transition of the gel causes a large shape change upon subtle changes in analyte concentration. The changes in the micro-probe structure will be made to vary the bulk optical properties such as scattering, polarization and absorption. . The shape of the probes is being constructed so that change in the micro-probe structure varies the bulk optical properties such as scattering, polarization and absorption. These probes have broad application in biotechnology.

Currently Teaching:
CHEM-567 Chemometrics: Data Analysis
801 Sherbrooke St. W. Montréal, Québec H3A 2K6 tel: 514-398-6999 fax: 514-398-3797   
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