Research Summary

We investigate nucleic acid chemistry ranging from oxidative damage to DNA, DNA repair and mutagenesis leading to cancer. In cell-based studies we found evidence of oxidized guanine lesions playing an epigenetic role in gene promoters involving G-quadruplexes. We are developing methods, including single-molecule nanopores, to sequence DNA and RNA for modifications (8-oxoG, pseudouridine and m6A), the latter being co-located with G-quadruplexes in mRNA and in viral RNA.


  • B. A., Chemistry, University of Colorado
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, Cornell University


Dr. Cynthia J. Burrows is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah. She was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota and Boulder, Colorado. Her undergraduate training was in physical organic chemistry with Prof. Stan Cristol at the University of Colorado and Ph.D. work was with Prof. Barry Carpenter at Cornell University, followed by an NSF-CNRS postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg.  She began her independent career as an assistant professor of chemistry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and was promoted to full professor in 1992 before returning to the West to take a position at the U of U in Salt Lake City in 1995.

Prof. Burrows has been a member of numerous editorial boards and review panels; from 2001-2013, she served as Senior Editor of the Journal of Organic Chemistry, and in 2014, began as Editor-in-Chief of Accounts of Chemical Research. She is a past recipient of the Robert Parry Teaching Award and in 2011 of the University Distinguished Teaching Award; her research was recently recognized with the ACS Utah Award, ACS Cope Scholar Award, and the University of Utah's Distinguished Creative and Scholarly Research Award and Rosenblatt Prize (2019). In 2009, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2013 she was appointed the inaugural holder of the Thatcher Presidential Endowed Chair of Biological Chemistry.  In 2014, she received the Linda K. Amos Award for Distinguished Service to Women at the University of Utah and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.  In 2022, she received both the Founders' Award of the ACS Division of Chemical Toxicology and the Linus Pauling Medal of the ACS.



Accounts of Chemical Research (American Chemical Society)