Cynthia J. Burrows

Burrows Page Photo 


   Distinguished Professor
   Thatcher Presidential Endowed Chair of Biological Chemistry

   B. A. University of Colorado, 1975
   Ph. D. Cornell University, 1982
   NSF-CNRS Postdoctoral Fellow, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg 1981-83


Phone: (801) 585-7290

Office: 1625 Thatcher Building


Research Group

Biological Chemistry Program

Activities & Awards

  • NSF – CNRS Exchange of Scientists Fellowship, 1981-82
  • Japan Soc. for the Promotion of Science Research Fellow, 1989-90
  • NSF Creativity Award, 1993-95
  • NSF Career Advancement Award, 1993-94
  • Bioorganic & Natural Products Study Section, NIH, 1990-94
  • NSF Math & Physical Sciences Advisory Committee, 2005-2008
  • Assoc. Editor, Organic Letters, 1999 - 2002
  • Senior Editor, Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2001-2013
  • Robert W. Parry Teaching Award, 2002
  • ACS Utah Award, 2000
  • Bea Singer Award, 2004
  • Fellow, AAAS, 2004
  • Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award, Univ. of Utah, 2005
  • Cope Scholar Award, American Chemical Society, 2008
  • Director, USTAR Governing Authority, 2009-2017
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2009
  • ACS Fellow, 2010
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, 2011
  • Editor-in-Chief, Accounts of Chemical Research, 2014
  • Linda K. Amos Award for Distinguished Service to Women at U of U, 2014
  • Member, National Academy of Science, 2014
  • Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology, 2016
  • Willard Gibbs Medal; ACS, Chicago Section, 2018
  • James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry; ACS, 2018

Research Interests

Nucleic acid chemistry with a focus on chemical modifications to DNA and RNA bases forms the core of our program. In DNA, such modifications are typically deleterious leading to mutations, genetic diseases and cancer; however, altered bases in RNA are of interest to help explain the role of RNA in the origin and evolution of life, specifically primitive metabolic processes on early Earth. These studies also help us understand how to modify nucleic acids to alter the function of DNA or RNA in the cell, or to analyze nucleic acids extracted from cells. Members of the lab include organic, biological, analytical and inorganic chemists.

Major projects include:

  • Mechanistic organic chemistry of guanine oxidation in nucleosides and oligonucleotides
  • Biochemistry of DNA processing enzymes with damaged DNA
  • Photochemistry of redox-active DNA and RNA bases
  • Nanopore sequencing of DNA damage
  • Oxidative damage in telomeric G quadruplexes
  • Formation of DNA-protein cross-links and related adducts
  • RNA interference studies with chemically modified bases

molecule image

For further details, please visit our group website.

Cindy Burrows is a member of the Nano Institute of Utah.

Selected Publications

  • For recent publications, please visit our group website.
  • Y. Ye, B. H. Munk, J. G. Muller, A. Cogbill, C. J. Burrows, and H. B. Schlegel, “ Mechanistic and kinetic aspects of the formation of guanidinohydantoin and spiroiminodihydantoin under acid conditions,” Chem. Res. Toxicol.2009, 22, 526-535.
  • S. D. Kathe, R. Barrantes-Reynolds, P. Jarugal, M. R. Newton, C. J. Burrows, V. Bandaru, M. Dizdaroglu, J. P. Bond, and S. S. Wallace, “Plant and fungal Fpg homologs are formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylases but not 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylases,” DNA Repair 2009, 8, 643-653.
  • T. Markus, S. Daube, R. Naaman, A. M. Fleming, J. G. Muller, C. J. Burrows, “The electronic structure of DNA: The unique properties of 8-oxoguanosine,“ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 89-95.
  • C. J. Burrows, “Surviving an Oxygen Atmosphere: DNA Damage and Repair,” in Chemical Evolution II: From Origins of Life to Modern Society, Zaikowski, L.; Friedrich, J. M.; Seidel, S. R.; Eds. ACS Symposium Series, Washington, DC, 2009, in press.
  • X. Xu, A. Fleming, J. G. Muller, and C. J. Burrows, “Formation of Tricyclic [] Adducts Between 8-Oxoguanosine and Tyrosine under Conditions of Oxidative DNA-Protein Cross-linking,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 10080-10081.
  • N. Krishnamurthy, X. Zhao, C. J. Burrows, and S. S. David, “Superior removal of hydantoin lesions relative to other oxidized bases by the human DNA glycosylase hNEIL1,” Biochemistry2008, 47, 7137-7146.
  • X. Xu, J. G. Muller, Y. Ye and C. J. Burrows, “DNA-protein cross-links between guanine and lysine depend on the mechanism of oxidation for formation of C5 vs. C8 adducts,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 703-709.
  • B. H. Munk, C. J. Burrows, and H. B. Schlegel, “An exploration of mechanisms for the transformation of 8-oxoguanine to guanidinohydantoin and spiroiminodihydantoin by density functional theory,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 5245-5256.
  • V. Bandaru, X. Zhao, M. R. Newton, C. J. Burrows, and S. S. Wallace, “Human Endonuclease VIII-like (NEIL) proteins in the giant DNA Mimivirus,” DNA Repair 2007, 6, 1629-1641.
  • N. Krishnamurthy, J. G. Muller, C. J. Burrows, and S. S. David, “Unusual structural features of hydantoin lesions translate into efficient recognition by Escherichia coli Fpg,” Biochemistry2007, 46, 9355-9365.
  • B. H. Munk, C. J. Burrows, and H. B. Schlegel, “An exploration of mechanisms for the transformation of 8-hydroxyguanine radical to FAPy-G by density functional theory,” Chem. Res. Toxicol.2007, 19, 432-444.
  • X. Zhao, J. G. Muller, M. Halasyam, S. S. David, and C. J. Burrows, “In vitro DNA ligation of oligodeoxynucleotides containing oxidized purine lesions by bacteriophage T4 DNA ligase,” Biochemistry,2007, 46, 3734-3744.
  • Y. Ye, J. G. Muller, and C. J. Burrows, “Synthesis and Characterization of the Oxidized dGTP Lesions Spiroiminodihydantoin-2'-deoxynucleoside-5'-triphosphate and Guanidinohydantoin-2'-deoxynucleoside-5'-triphosphate,” J. Org. Chem.2006, 71, 2181-2184.
  • M. E. Johansen, X. Xu, J. G. Muller, and C. J. Burrows, “Oxidatively Induced DNA-Protein Cross-linking between Single-Stranded Binding Protein (SSB) and Oligodeoxynucleotides containing 8-Oxo-7,8-dihydro-2’-deoxyguanosine,” Biochemistry,2005, 44, 5660-5671.
  • O. Kornyushyna, A. J. Stemmler, D. M. Graybosch, I. Bergenthal, and C. J. Burrows, “Synthesis of a Metallopeptide-PNA Conjugate and its Oxidative Cross-linking to a DNA Target,” Bioconj. Chem. 2005, 17, 178-183.
  • M. E. Hosford, J. G. Muller, and C. J. Burrows, "Spermine participates in oxidative damage of guanosine and 8-oxoguanosine leading to deoxyribosylurea formation," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126 , 9540-9541.
  • S. Choi, J. G. Muller, C. J. Burrows, et al., "Mechanism of 2-e- oxidation of 5-dGMP by a Pt(IV) complex," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126 , 591.
  • Y. Ye, J. G. Muller, W. Luo, C. L. Mayne, A. J. Shallop, R. A. Jones, and C. J. Burrows, "Formation of 13C-, 15N- and 18O-labeled guanidinohydantoin from guanosine oxidation with singlet oxygen. Implications for structure and mechanism," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 13926.
  • O. Kornyushyna and C. J. Burrows, "Effect of the oxidized lesions Sp and Gh on proofreading by Klenow fragment," Biochemistry 2003, 42, 13008.
  • W. Luo, J.G. Muller, and C.J. Burrows, "The pH-dependent role of superoxide in riboflavin-catalyzed photooxidation of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydroguanosine," Org . Lett . 2001, 3, 2801-2804.
  • W. Luo, J. G. Muller, E. Rachlin, and C. J. Burrows, "Characterization of spiroiminodihydantoin as a product of 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanosine oxidation," Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 613-616.
  • R. P. Hickerson, C. L. Chepanoske, S. D. Williams, S. S. David, and C. J. Burrows, "Mechanism-based DNA-protein cross-linking of MutY via oxidation of 8-oxoguanosine," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1999, 121, 9901-9902.
  • R. P. Hickerson, F. Prat, J. G. Muller, C. S. Foote, and C. J. Burrows, "Sequence and stacking dependence of 8-oxoguanine oxidation: Comparison of one-electron vs. singlet oxygen mechanisms," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1999, 121, 9423-9428.
  • J. Stemmler and C. J. Burrows, "The Sal-XH motif for metal-mediated oxidative DNA-peptide cross-linking," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1999, 121, 6956-6957.
  • C.J. Burrows and J.G. Muller, "Oxidative nucleobase modifications leading to strand scission," Chem. Rev. 1998, 98, 1109-1152.

Contact Information:

Cynthia J. Burrows, Ph. D., Distinguished Professor

U.S. Mailing address:
Department of Chemistry
University of Utah
315 S. 1400 East, Rm 2020
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0850

Campus mailing address: 2020 HEB

Physical location:
1625 Thatcher Building
Voice: 801-585-7290
Labs: 801-585-3096

Assistant to the Chair:
Ms. Debbie Olson
Voice: 801-581-3164
Fax: 801-581-8433

Last Updated: 9/23/18