Nick Burton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming

Areas of Expertise

Metabolism, intergenerational inheritance, C. elegans, host-microbe interactions


Dr. Nick Burton explores two main topics: How a mother’s environment impacts offspring metabolism and how microbiome bacteria can influence animal health. Both of these projects have a particular interest in insulin signaling with a long-term aim of preventing the onset of human pathologies associated with insulin signaling such as Type 2 diabetes. He earned a B.S. in biology from University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked in the labs of both Dr. Anna Huttenlocher and Dr. Scott Kennedy. He was then awarded a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and earned a Ph.D. in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied under the mentorship of Dr. H. Robert Horvitz. As part of his dissertation work, Dr. Burton sought to develop new paradigms to study the mechanisms by which parental environment regulates offspring physiology. In 2017, he joined the Centre for Trophoblast Research at University of Cambridge as an independent Next Generation Fellow. While there, he investigated how environmental bacteria can affect development, physiology, metabolism and neuronal function of individuals and their offspring. In 2021, he joined Van Andel Institute as an assistant professor in the Department of Epigenetics; in 2023, he joined the Institute’s Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming.