UW madison
UW School of Medicine and Public Health
Carbone Cancer Center

Richard R. Burgess, Ph.D.

Richard Burgess
James D. Watson Professor Emeritus of Oncology
Emeritus Program Member - UW Carbone Cancer Center

B.S., 1964, Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
Ph.D., 1969, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Harvard University
Postdoctoral research: Laboratory of Alfred Tissieres, University of Geneva, Switzerland

7455 Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research
Office - (608) 263-2635; Lab - (608) 263-3375
Research Description: 

Work in my laboratory is focused on prokaryotic and eukaryotic RNA polymerases and transcription machinery and their role in regulation of RNA synthesis. In particular, we study the structure and function of the initiation factor, E. coli RNA polymerase sigma70 subunit, by a concerted use of protein and physical chemistry, monoclonal antibodies, molecular genetics, and biochemistry. We have used special monoclonal antibodies to immunopurify RNA polymerase II from wheat, yeast, and human cells in order to study the subunit architecture of the enzyme and the interaction of the enzyme with DNA and transcription factors. Protein expression and purification methods are being developed. We have special expertise in protein refolding, gentle immunoaffinity chromatography, and study of protein-protein interactions, including a new technology to detect and isolate weak protein-protein interactions.

Selected Recent Publications: 


Burgess RR. A brief practical review of size exclusion chromatography: Rules of thumb, limitations, and troubleshooting. Protein Expr Purif. 2018 Oct;150:81-85. doi: 10.1016/j.pep.2018.05.007. Epub 2018 May 17. Review. PubMed PMID: 29777748.


Burgess RR, Watson JD. Gentle antibody-mimetic affinity chromatography with polyol-responsive nanoCLAMPs. Protein Expr Purif. 2017 Jun;134:154-155. doi: 10.1016/j.pep.2017.06.002. (Editorial) PubMed PMID: 28633910.


Burgess RR. A brief review of common grammatical and scientific errors seen in reviewing protein purification manuscripts for 25 years. Protein Expr Purif. 2016 Apr;120:106-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pep.2015.12.002. Review. PubMed PMID: 26687899.


Berry, S. M., Chin, E. N., Jackson, S. S., Strotman, L. N., Goel, M., Thompson, N. E., Alexander, C. M., Miyamoto, S., Burgess, R. R., and Beebe, D. J.  Weak Protein-Protein Interactions Revealed by Immiscible Filtration Assisted by Surface Tension.  Anal. Biochem., 447: 133-140, 2014.


Banta, A. B., Chumanov, R. S., Yuan, A. H., Lin, H., Campbell, E. A., Burgess, R. R., and Gourse, R. L.  Key Features of σs Required for Specific Recognition by Crl, a Transcription Factor Promoting Assembly of RNA Polymerase Holoenzyme.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 110(40): 15955-15960, 2013.

Burgess, R. R.  In Memoriam:  Recollections of John Dunn (1944-2012).  Protein Expr. Purif., 87(1):  3-4, 2013.


Burgess, R. R.  Fusion Tags: A Collection of Papers.  Protein Expr. Purif., 81:  A1-A2, 2012.

Esch, A. M., Thompson, N. E., Lamberski, J. A., Mertz, J. E., and Burgess, R. R.  Production and Characterization of Monoclonal Antibodies to Estrogen-Related Receptor Alpha (ERRa) and Use in Immunoaffinity Chromatography.  Protein Expr. Purif., 84: 47-58, 2012.

Perform a PubMed search for additional Burgess publications

National Committees: 

Member, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters Fundraising Committee and Fellows Selection Committee, 2009-present

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