Dr. Burns received his B.Sc. (Honours Physiology) in 1980 and his M.D., C.M. from McGill University in 1984. He completed his residency training in Internal Medicine in 1988 and Nephrology in 1990 at the University of Ottawa. From 1989 to 1992, he performed a Research Fellowship in the Division of Nephrology at Vanderbilt University, under the supervision of Dr. Ray Harris.
Dr. Burns is a Full Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. He is Director of the Kidney Research Centre of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, and is cross-appointed to the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. His research program is supported by funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation/Ontario Innovation Trust. In 1992, he was awarded a five year Scholarship from the Medical Research Council of Canada (1992-1997). Dr. Burns was President of the Canadian Society of Nephrology from 2004 to 2006.
Dr. Burns is the Program Director of the KRESCENT Program (Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training Program). Its founding partners, the Canadian Society of Nephrology and the Kidney Foundation of Canada, launched this innovative program in 2005 with support from the CIHR and the private sector. KRESCENT will train up to 28 new kidney research scientists in Canada over the next six years, from all disciplines of research, and the program will provide salary support, a core curriculum that emphasizes knowledge translation, and ongoing mentorship.