Bernard Burke


    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    I have PhD projects available in the area of therapeutic uses of macrophages, eg Gene Therapy for Cancer and in the area of immune responses to pathogens and to implanted biomaterials. Feel free to contact me on for further information.

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
    1992 …2024

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile


    Following my degree in Biology at the University of York, I worked as a Research Assistant and PhD student (registered at the University of Warwick) on the molecular virology of the Rotavirus, in the Regional Virus Laboratory, Birmingham, moving in 1992 under the same supervisors to work in the Division of Virology at the University of Cambridge.

    I then spent three years as a Postdoc with Prof. T.J. Mitchell at Leicester University and then moved with him to the University of Glasgow, generating a transgenic mouse line showing inflammation-inducible expression of the cytokine Granulocyte Macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), in order to study immune responses to the respiratory pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. This was accomplished by creating a gene fusion between the promoter of the human acute-phase C-Reactive Protein gene and a cDNA encoding murine GM-CSF.

    In 1998 I moved to the University of Sheffield as a Research Fellow, working on the potential for using one of the key immune system cells, the macrophage, to deliver gene therapy to the hypoxic regions of tumours.

    After that I took up a position as a Special Research Fellow at Leicester University in 2002 and then Lecturer in 2006, working on the effects of hypoxia on macrophage gene expression and on Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    In 2014 I moved to the University of Birmingham to work on macrophage responses to implanted biomaterials (such as tooth implants, artificial hip joints, and metal-doped Bioglasses), before coming to Coventry in 2016, where I am continuing my research on the therapeutic uses of macrophages and their responses to hypoxia and biomaterials.

    Research Interests

    Macrophages, Hypoxia, Cancer, Infection, Innate immunity, Biomaterials, Gene Expression

    Vision Statement

    My research focuses on gene expression changes in one of the key cells of the immune system, the macrophage. In particular I focus on responses to low oxygen (hypoxia), which is an important factor in cancer progression, and to infections.  I am interested in how macrophages regulate transcription to modulate their gene expression in response to these stimuli, and how this knowledge can be used in combatting infections and cancer. I am also interested in the responses of macrophages to implanted biomaterials such as tooth implants and artifical hip joints, and how these can be modulated to improve patient outcomes.


    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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