Mary N. Burtnick, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Mary Burtnick

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Bacterial Pathogenesis, University of Calgary, Canada, 2002
  • B.Sc., Biology, University of British Columbia, Canada, 1994


  • 2002 - 2003, Postdoctoral Associate, Genomic Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, San Diego, CA, USA
  • 2003 - 2008, Visiting Fellow, Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, MT, USA
  • 2008 - 2016, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Alabama, College of Medicine, Mobile, AL, USA
  • 2016 - 2017, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Alabama, College of Medicine, Mobile, AL, USA
  • 2017 - present, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV, USA

Research Interests

Research in the Burtnick laboratory is focused on identifying the molecular mechanisms used by Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei to persist within eukaryotic cells. Specifically, we are interested in determining how the virulence-associated secretion systems expressed by these facultative intracellular pathogens facilitate their survival and replication within a variety of human and murine cell types. Our laboratory has over 18 years of experience working with pathogenic Burkholderia species and has significant expertise in areas relating to bacterial genetics, pathogenesis, host-pathogen interactions, vaccine antigen discovery and immune assay development. The main objective of our research is to use the information gained from host-pathogen interaction studies to identify antigens that can be used to develop novel vaccines, diagnostics and immune assays to combat the diseases caused by these important bacterial pathogens.


  • Phokrai, P., Karoonboonyanan, W., Thanapattarapairoj, N., Promkong, C., Dulsuk, A., Koosakulnirand, S., Canovali, S., Indrawattana, N., Jutrakul, Y., Wuthiekanun, V., Limmathurotsakul, D., Brett, P.J., Burtnick, M.N., Lertmemongkolchai, G. and Chantratita N. 2018. A Rapid Immunochromatography Test Based on Hcp1 is a Potential Point-of-Care Test for Serological Diagnosis of Melioidosis. J Clin Microbiol. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00346-18. Epub ahead of print.
  • Burtnick, M.N., Shaffer, T.L., Ross, B.N., Muruato, L.A., Sbrana, E., DeShazer, D., Torres, A.G. and Brett, P.J. 2017. Development of Subunit Vaccines that Provide High Level Protection and Sterilizing Immunity Against Acute Inhalational Melioidosis. Infect Immun. 86:e00724-17.
  • Pumpuang, A., Dunachie, S.J., Phokrai, P., Jenjaroen, K., Sintiprungrat, K., Boonsilp, S., Brett, P.J., Burtnick, M.N. and Chantratita, N. 2017. Comparison of O-polysaccharide and Hemolysin Co-regulated Protein as Target Antigens for Serodiagnosis of Melioidosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 11:e0005499.
  • Stone, J.K., Deshazer, D., Brett, P.J. and Burtnick, M.N. 2014. Melioidosis: molecular aspects of pathogenesis. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 12:1487-99.
  • Burtnick, M.N., Brett, P.J. and DeShazer D. 2014. Proteomic Analysis of the Burkholderia pseudomallei Type II Secretome Reveals Hydrolytic Enzymes, Novel Proteins and the Deubiquitinase TssM. Infect Immun. 82:3214-26.
  • Burtnick, M.N. and Brett, P.J. 2013. Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei T6SS-1 Gene Expression is Negatively Regulated by Divalent Cations. PLoS One. 11:e76767.

Additional publications can be found on