Barrington G. Burnett


Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics
Vice Chair for Research, APG
Location: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Research Interests:
Protein degradation, ubiquitin signaling and neurodegeneration
Office Phone


PhD (Pharmacology) - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2005
MA (Chemistry) - Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 2000
BS (Chemistry) - Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1998


Barrington Burnett, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics at Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD. His work centers on clarifying the role of protein degradation pathways in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Burnett received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania. His doctoral work provided initial evidence that the polyglutamine neurodegenerative disease protein ataxin 3 is a deubiquitinating enzyme that functions in the ubiquitin proteasome system processing misfolded toxic proteins. Dr. Burnett went on to postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Kenneth Fischbeck at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he primarily worked to identify mechanisms to stabilize the survival motor neuron protein, which is deficient in the childhood motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). During his time at the NIH Dr. Burnett developed in vitro and cell culture assays to characterize protein turnover and investigated the preclinical efficacy of targeting the ubiquitin proteasome system to treat neurological disorders.

Since joining the faculty at the Uniformed Services University, Dr. Burnett has maintained an NIH funded research group focused on characterizing the molecular underpinnings of neurodegenerative diseases and identifying therapeutic strategies to reverse disease course. In addition, the lab has expanded its work to include effects of the protein degradation machinery on traumatic brain injury and neuroinflammation.

Career Highlights: Positions, Projects, Deployements, Awards and Additional Publications

Outstanding Biomedical Educator Award (2021)

Cinda Helke Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Advocacy (2019)

Dean’s Impact Award recognizing excellence in research

Emerging Investigator Award (FightSMA & The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation; 2014)

Representative Bibliography

Khayrullina G, Alipio-Gloria ZA, Deguise MO, Gagnon S, Chehade L, Stinson M, Belous N, Bergman EM, Lischka FW, Rotty J, Dalgard CL, Kothary R, Johnson KA, Burnett BG. Survival motor neuron protein deficiency alters microglia reactivity. Glia. 2022 Apr 4;. doi: 10.1002/glia.24177. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 35373853.

McCormack NM, Villalón E, Viollet C, Soltis AR, Dalgard CL, Lorson CL, Burnett BG. Survival motor neuron deficiency slows myoblast fusion through reduced myomaker and myomixer expression. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2021 Aug;12(4):1098-1116. doi: 10.1002/jcsm.12740.

McCormack NM, Abera MB, Arnold ES, Gibbs RM, Martin SE, Buehler E, Chen YC, Chen L, Fischbeck KH, Burnett BG. A high-throughput genome-wide RNAi screen identifies modifiers of survival motor neuron protein. Cell Rep. 2021 May 11;35(6):109125. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.

Khayrullina G, Moritz KE, Schooley JF, Fatima N, Viollet C, McCormack NM, Smyth JT, Doughty ML, Dalgard CL, Flagg TP, Burnett BG. SMN-deficiency disrupts SERCA2 expression and intracellular Ca2+ signaling in cardiomyocytes from SMA mice and patient-derived iPSCs. Skeletal Muscle. 2020 May 8;10(1):16.

Moritz KE, McCormack NM, Abera MB, Viollet C, Yauger YJ, Sukumar G, Dalgard CL, Burnett BG. The role of the immunoproteasome in interferon-γ-mediated microglial activation. Scientific Reports, 2017 Aug 24;7(1):9365.

Abera MB, Xiao J, Nofziger J, Titus S, Southall N, Zheng W, Moritz KE, Ferrer M, Cherry JJ, Androphy EJ, Wang A, Xu X, Austin C, Fischbeck KH, Marugan JJ, Burnett BG. ML372 blocks SMN ubiquitination and improves spinal muscular atrophy pathology in mice. JCI Insight. 2016 Nov 17;1(19):e88427.

Foran E, Kwon DY, Nofziger JH, Arnold ES, Hall MD, Fischbeck KH, Burnett BG. CNS uptake of bortezomib is enhanced by P-glycoprotein inhibition: Implications for spinal muscular atrophy. Neurobiology of Diseases. 2016; Apr;88:118-24.

Bricceno KV, Martinez T, Leikina E, Duguez S, Partridge TA, Chernomordik LV, Fischbeck KH, Sumner CJ, Burnett BG. Survival motor neuron protein deficiency impairs myotube formation by altering myogenic gene expression and focal adhesion dynamics. Human Molecular Genetics, 2014; 23(18):4745-57.

Landouré G, Zhu P, Johnson JO, Bricceno KV, Rinaldi C, Meilleur KG, Sangaré M, Diallo O, Ishiura H, Hein N, Stoll M, Britton A, Züchner S, Fink J, Nicholson G, Durr A, Stevanin G, Biesecker L for the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center, Tsuji S, Traynor BJ, Traoré M, Blackstone C, Fischbeck KH, Burnett BG: Mutation in C19orf12 causes hereditary spastic paraplegia type 43. Human Mutation, 2013; 34(10):1357-60.

Kwon DY, Dimitriadi M, Cable C, Hart AC, Chitnis A, Fischbeck KH, Burnett BG: The E3 ubiquitin ligase mind bomb 1 ubiquitinates and promotes the degradation of survival of motor neuron protein. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2012; 24(12):1863-71.