Dr Burke obtained his MD from Cornell University Medical School in 1975, and received training in neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He obtained postdoctoral training in Clinical Movement Disorders with Dr Stanley Fahn from 1980 to 1982, and training in molecular neurobiology with Dr Tong Joh from 1985 to 1987. He was appointed assistant professor of neurology at Columbia in 1982 and he is now the Alfred and Minnie Bressler Professor of Neurology and Pathology & Cell Biology. He has served as the director of Laboratory Research in Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders in the Department of Neurology at Columbia since 1997, and as the director of the Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research at Columbia University since 2003. His current research interests relate to the molecular basis of neuronal programmed cell death, and the neurobiology of axons.