New UA Agriculture, Life Sciences Dean Chosen
Mississippi State University's Shane C. Burgess brings literally a world of experience in genetics and veterinary science with him to the UA.

By Jeff Harrison, University Communications
July 18, 2011

Shane C. Burgess, director of the Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology at Mississippi State University, has been appointed the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Burgess succeeds Eugene G. Sander, who recently retired as dean and vice provost and will serve as UA president beginning Aug. 1, while the Arizona Board of Regents searches for a new chief executive.

A native of New Zealand, Burgess has worked around the world as a practicing veterinarian and scientist. Currently, he is the associate dean for strategic initiatives and economic development in MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine and a professor in the department of basic sciences in the vet school.

His areas of expertise include cancer biology, virology, proteomics, immunology and bioinformatics. Since 1997 he has written 110 peer-reviewed publications.

The first in his family to earn college degree, Burgess graduated from Massey University in New Zealand in 1989 with a degree in veterinary science, and in 1998 with a doctoral degree in virology and immunology from the University of Bristol in England. After graduating, he spent several years working in and managing veterinary clinical practices in Australia and the UK, including horses, farm animals, pets, wild and zoo animals, and emergency medicine and surgery.

He also managed an aquaculture facility in Scotland and did a radiology residency at Murdoch University in Perth in western Australia, where he also was a founder of Perth's first emergency veterinary clinic.

Burgess joined the UK World Reference Laboratory for Exotic Diseases during the 2001 foot and mouth disease crisis, where he led the data compilation and reporting office. For his efforts he was awarded the Institute for Animal Health Director's Award for Service.

In 2002, Burgess became a professor in the department of basic sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State, teaching immunology and virology. His duties there grew to include serving as the director of the MSU Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology.

He has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than $50 million in research projects from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and several European agencies. Burgess and his collaborators have worked on projects on cancer biology, immunology, virology, bacteriology, toxicology, bioenergy, and agricultural plant and animal genomics.

In 2009, Burgess received the Ralph E. Powe Research Excellence Award, Mississippi State University's highest research award.

"I think we are very fortunate to have attracted Shane Burgess from Mississippi State to lead the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences," said Sander. "Shane is an outstanding administrator and scientist who will give us real leadership in one of the more important areas impacting the agricultural sciences. I look forward to introducing him to the agricultural industry in our state."

"The UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a state treasure," said UA Provost Meredith Hay. "We are fortunate to have someone of Shane Burgess' caliber leading the college and advancing its efforts to improve the quality of life for the citizens of this state."

Burgess and his wife, Jennifer, have a son, Aidan, and daughter, Ailey.


Resources for the media

Shane C. Burgess

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences