Christopher R. Burtner

photo of Assistant Professor of Biology Chris Burtner
Christopher R. Burtner, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Biology

Contact Information

(401) 254-3420cburtner@rwu.eduELS 104

Areas of Expertise

Biology of aging; stem cells and gene therapy; CRISPR gene editing; molecular biology; translational


Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Washington
B.A., Philosophy, University of Puget Sound

Research Interests

Dr. Burtner leads the Molecular Longevity Laboratory at RWU. The group uses the model organisms Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) and Caenorhabditis elegans (soil nematode) to understand the genetic and biochemical pathways that modulate cellular and organismal longevity. Current research in the lab focuses on three major goals:

  1. Elucidate the biochemical mechanism of longevity in response to dietary restriction.
  2. Determine the extent to which longevity genes are conserved between yeast and nematodes, and evaluate the effect of conserved longevity pathways on neurodegenerative models of proteotoxicity.
  3. Develop CRISPR systems in yeast and C. elegans to evaluate the effect of gene over-expression on life span.

Visit the external Molecular Longevity Laboratory website.

Awards & Certificates

Certificate of Distinction in Teaching
Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University (2017)

ABLConnect Teaching Innovator Prize
Harvard University (2017)

Science Teaching Experience for Postdocs
University of Washington (Certificate, 2015)

HHMI Molecular Medicine Scholar, Med into Grad Initiative
University of Washington (Certificate, 2010)


Hollenhorst, MA, Braun, DA, Burtner, CR, Cajigas, I, Cunningham-Bussel, AC, Eser, PO, Nabel, CS, Tsai, FD, Michel, T, and Yialamas, MA. Bridging the Divide: Development of a Student Grand Rounds at the Interface of Basic Science and Clinical Medicine. Acad Med. 2019 (manuscript in submission).

Humbert, O, Chan, F, Rajawat, YS, Torgerson, T, Burtner, C, Hubbard, N, Humphrys, D, Nogaard, ZK, O’Donnell, P, Adair, JE, Trobridge, GD, Scharenberg, AM, Felsburg, PJ, Rawlings, DJ, Kiem, HP. Rapid Immune Reconstitution of SCID-X1 Canines After G-CSF/AMD3100 Mobilization and In Vivo Gene Therapy. Blood Adv. 2018 May 8;2(9): 987 - 999.

Burtner, CR, Chandrasekaran, D, Santos, EB, Beard, BC, Adair, JE, Sandmaier, BM, and Kiem, H-P. 211Astatine-conjugated monoclonal CD45 antibody-based nonmyeloablative conditioning for stem cell gene therapy. Hum Gene Ther. 2015 Jun;26(6):399 - 406.

Felsburg, P, Ravin, S, Malech, H, Sorrentino, B, Burtner, C, Kiem, H-P. Gene Therapy Studies in a Canine Model of X-linked Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. Hum Gene Ther Clin Dev. 2015 Mar;26(1):50 - 56.

Burtner, CR, Beard, BC, Kennedy, DR, Wohlfahrt, ME, Adair, JE, Trobridge, GD, Scharenberg, AM, Torgerson, TR, Rawlings, DJ, Felsburg, PJ, and Kiem, H-P. Intravenous injection of a foamy virus vector to correct canine SCID-X1. Blood. 2014 Jun 5;123(23): 3578 - 3584.

Kiem, H-P, Arumugam, PI, Burtner, CR, Fox, C, Beard, BC, Dexheimer, P, Adair, JE, and Malik, P. Pigtailed macaques as a model to study safety and efficacy of lentivirus vector-mediated gene therapy for hemoglobinopathies. Mol TherMethods Clin Dev. 2014 Dec 17;1:14055.

Burtner, CR, Murakami, CJ, Olsen, B, Kennedy, BK, and Kaeberlein, M. A genomic analysis of chronological longevity factors in budding yeast. Cell Cycle. 2011 May 1;10(9): 1385 - 1396.

Burtner, CR and Kennedy, BK. Progeria syndromes and ageing: what is the connection? Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Aug;11(8): 567 - 578.

Burtner, CR, Murakami, CJ, Kennedy, BK, and Kaeberlein, M. A molecular mechanism of chronological aging in yeast. Cell Cycle. 2009 Apr 15;8(8): 1256 - 1270.

Burtner, CR, Murakami, CJ, and Kaeberlein, M. A genomic approach to yeast chronological aging. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;548: 101 - 114.

Kudlow, BA, Stanfel, MN, Burtner, CR, Johnston, ED, and Kennedy, BK. Suppression of proliferative defects associated with processing-defective lamin A mutants by hTERT or inactivation of p53. Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Dec;19(12): 5238 - 5248.

Murakami, CJ, Burtner, CR, Kennedy, BK, and Kaeberlein, M. A method for high-throughput quantitative analysis of yeast chronological lifespan. J Gernotol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2008 Feb;63(2): 113 - 121.

Kaeberlein, M, Burtner, CR, and Kennedy, BK. Recent developments in yeast aging. PLoS Genet. 2007 May 25;3(5):e84.

Till, BJ, Reynolds, SH, Weil, C, Springer, N, Burtner, C, Young, K, Bowers, E, Codomo, CA, Enns, LC, Odden, AR, and Henikoff, S. Discovery of induced point mutations in maize genes by TILLING. BMC Plant Biol. 2004 Jul 28; 4:12.

Till, BJ, Burtner, C, Comai, L, and Henikoff, S. Mismatch cleavage by single-strand specific nucleases. Nucleic Acids Res. 2004 May 11;32(8): 2632 - 2641.

Comai, L, Young, K, Till, BJ, Reynolds, SH, Greene, EA, Codomo, CA, Enns, LC, Johnson, JE, Burtner, C, Odden, AR, and Henikoff, S. Efficient discovery of DNA polymorphisms in natural populations by ecotilling. Plant J. 2004 Mar;37(5): 778 - 786.

Greene, EA, Codomo, CA, Taylor, NE, Henikoff, JG, Till, BJ, Reynolds, SH, Enns, LC, Burtner, C, Johnson, JE, Odden, AR, Comai, L, and Henikoff, S. Spectrum of chemically induced mutations from a large-scale reverse-genetic screen in Arabidopsis. Genetics. 2003 Jun;164(2): 731 - 740.

Till, BJ, Reynolds, SH, Greene, EA, Codomo, CA, Enns, LC, Johnson, JE, Burtner, C, Odden, AR, Young, K, Taylor, NE, Henikoff, JG, Comai, L, and Henikoff, S. Large-scale discovery of induced point mutations with high-throughput TILLING. Genome Res. 2003 Mar;13(3): 524 - 530.