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Postdoc - Hypothalamic Research UT Southwestern Medical Center - 2015
PhD - Immunophysiology and Behavior University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - 2012
B.S. - Animal Science University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - 2006
Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience. How peripheral stimuli (painful stimuli, diet, alcohol, & immune activation) communicate to the CNS to elicit complex behaviors: An emphasis on pain, depression, and metabolism. Using behavioral assays, molecular genetics, in-vivo imaging, biochemistry, and pharmacology.
Dr. Burton is a new Assistant Professor whose research focuses on how the immune system modulates peripheral sensory neurons to regulate pain and energy homeostasis. The lab is interested in aging, nutrition, alcohol consumption, and immune activation. Dr. Burton received his BS and PhD in Animal Sciences with a focus on Immunophysiology and Behavior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then moved to Dallas, TX to begin his postdoctoral fellowship work in the Department of Hypothalamic Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center. There Dr. Burton gained skills in molecular genetics, neuroendocrinology, and neuroanatomy; in studies that focused on how peripheral ganglia recognized dietary components. He then moved to the UT-Dallas campus to focus on how immune cells influence the transition to chronic pain, bioinformatics, and in-vivo 2-photon imaging. It was the fusion of these 2 experiences that formed the basis of a NIH-(K)Transition-to-Faculty Award. He believes in order to traverse the gap between basic research and clinical application to the patient, we must realize and appreciate pre-clinical research. He is excited at the notion to play a role in this process, and help humankind through his research in pain development, depression, and metabolic disorders that we deal with every day.
Age and sex drive differential behavioral and neuroimmune phenotypes during postoperative pain 2023 - Journal Article
Inducible co-stimulatory molecule (ICOS) alleviates paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain via an IL-10-mediated mechanism in female mice 2023 - Journal Article
Peroxynitrite Contributes to Behavioral Responses, Increased Trigeminal Excitability, and Changes in Mitochondrial Function in a Preclinical Model of Migraine 2023 - Journal Article
Sensory neuron LKB1 mediates ovarian and reproductive function 2023 - Other
C781, a β-Arrestin Biased Antagonist at Protease-Activated Receptor-2 (PAR2), Displays in vivo Efficacy Against Protease-Induced Pain in Mice 2023 - Journal Article
Pain and Aging: A unique challenge in neuroinflammation and behavior 2023 - Journal Article
Neuroimmunology and Behavior: Big Data Management Plan 2023 - Other
Sex-specific differences in alcohol-induced pain sensitization 2023 - Journal Article
SFNova/Rising Star - Society for Neuroscience 
Fellow - African Science Institute 
Certificate of Congressional Recognition - U.S. House of Representatives 
ACT Fellow - American Society for Cell Biology 
Rita Allen Pain Scientist Award - Rita Allen Foundation 
Future Leaders Award - The Endocrine Society 
Future Leader Award - American Pain Society 
Eugene McDermott Professor UT Dallas [2022–Present]
Endowed Professor Position
Associate Professor with Tenure UT Dallas [2023–Present]
Founding Member Center for Advanced Pain Studies (CAPS) [2019–Present]
Assistant Professor UT Dallas [2017–2023]
Affiliate Center for Vital Longevity [2020–Present]
Neuroimmune communication – how peripheral neurons communicate with immune cells to mediate pain states and co-morbidities. Cell-specific TLR4 signaling. Chronic Muscle Pain/Fibromyalgia (clinical outcomes).
Translational project utilizing novel genetic rodent models with a clinical aspect utilizing human patients and samples.
Mechanisms of aging – how aging and sex influence the immune system, metabolism, and behavioral plasticity.
Translational project utilizing rodent models with a clinical aspect utilizing human tissue.
The role of cannabinoids in mediating affective behavior and analgesia – an opioid alternative to chronic pain.
Translational project using novel genetic animal models
The role of (neuro)immune biomarkers indicative of pain and delirium, during convalescence – direct clinical implications of this conversation.
Clinical Project in collaboration with UTSW and the University of Cincinnati
Dr. Burton serves as the Deputy Editor of Neurobiology of Pain and sits on the editorial boards of: Journal of Neuroinflammation, European Journal of Neuroscience, Frontiers in Pain Research, Behavioral Neuroscience, and he is a member of the advisory boards of the Mentoring Institute for Neuroscience Diversity Scholars (MINDS), The Endocrine Society Basic Science Group, and NIH Center for Scientific Review Council for Fellowships
A new study in mice from researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas suggests that a short-term exposure to a high-fat diet may be linked to pain sensations even in the absence of a prior injury or a preexisting condition like obesity or diabetes.
The study, published Sept. 1 in the journal Scientific Reports, compared the effects of eight weeks of different diets on two cohorts of mice. One group received normal chow, while the other was fed a high-fat diet in a way that did not precipitate the development of obesity or high blood sugar, both of which are conditions that can result in diabetic neuropathy and other types of pain.
The researchers found that the high-fat diet induced hyperalgesic priming — a neurological change that represents the transition from acute to chronic pain — and allodynia, which is pain resulting from stimuli that do not normally provoke pain.
Burton was selected for his presentation on delayed-onset neuropathic pain in older men. His research suggests that immune system hyperactivity at an advanced age can trigger hyperexcitability in neurons that can produce chronic pain long after an injury.
Dr. Michael Burton is an Assistant Professor in the Systems Neuroscience Program in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded Dr. Burton the 2019 Mitchell Max Award for his research on Delayed Onset of Neuropathic Pain in Aged Males After Peripheral Nerve Injury. Dr. Burton took a break from his research to reflect on the esteemed honor:
Scientists in The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for Advanced Pain Studies (CAPS) have furthered the understanding of how chronic pain functions differently in males and females, including identifying different ways pain begins at the cellular level.
“As recently as 2014, laboratories were using only males to analyze what was happening, and that led to failures in clinical and preclinical trials,” said Dr. Michael Burton, assistant professor of neuroscience and co-senior author of both papers. “It was apparent that something was missing from the equation.