Robert E. Burke Memorial Lecture

Photo of Dr. Robert E. Burke

The Robert E. Burke Memorial Lecture was established in 2018 in honor to the memory and accomplishments of Dr. Robert Burke who passed on January 1, 2018 at the age of 68.

Dr. Burke was an outstanding clinical-scientist of the Department of Neurology and Pathology & Cell Biology at Columbia, highly recognized for his work in the molecular basis of neuronal programmed cell death in dopamine neurons and the neurobiology of their axons.

In his honor, the Department of Neurology and his wife, Dr. Sharon Wardlaw, established this lecture to stimulate studies on the cause and pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders of the aging-brain.

Dr. Burke graduated from Dartmouth College in 1971 and obtained his MD from Cornell University Medical School in 1975. He received training in Neurology and Clinical Movement Disorders at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and was subsequently appointed to the faculty where he spent his entire professional career. He was the Alfred & Minnie Bressler Professor of Neurology and Pathology & Cell Biology. He served as Director of the Laboratories for Research in Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders and led the NIH supported Morris K. Udall Research Center. He had expertise in clinical movement disorders and the neurobiology of Parkinson’s Disease and contributed to the training of many students, residents and fellows. He held leadership positions in the American Academy of Neurology, the Movement Disorder Society and the World Parkinson Congress. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was the recipient of awards from the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Most recent 2024 Robert E. Burke Memorial Lecture

Accelerating and Expanding Understanding of the Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease

Andrew B. Singleton, PhD

Andrew B. Singleton, PhD
NIH Distinguished Investigator Director, Center for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias
Chief, Molecular Genetics Section, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging, IRP, NIH

Andrew received his B.Sc. from the University of Sunderland, UK, and his Ph.D. from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. After postdoctoral work at the Mayo Clinic, Andrew moved to the National Institute on Aging. He became a senior investigator there in 2007, and Laboratory Chief in 2008. In 2016 he became an NIH Distinguished Investigator. In 2021 Andrew became the Director of the new Center for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias within the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health.

Andrew has published more than 700 articles. His group works on the genetic basis of neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dystonia, ataxia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The goal of this research is to identify genetic variability that causes or contributes to disease and to use this knowledge to understand the molecular processes underlying disease.

Andrew serves on several advisory and editorial boards. He has received the Annemarie Opprecht Award for Parkinson’s disease research, the Jay van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s Disease Research, the American Academy of Neurology Movement Disorders Award, the Robert A Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson’s Disease, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Sunderland.