Dr. Burgess is the Associate Dean for Research at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. His occupational research has been broadly focused on reducing toxic exposures and preventing injuries and illnesses among firefighters and miners. Many of his recent projects involve measurement and prevention of carcinogenic exposures in firefighters and evaluation of epigenetic changes as biomarkers of increased cancer risk in firefighters. His environmental focus has been on improvement of emergency preparedness, evaluation of population-level exposures to arsenic in drinking water and diet, and working with tribal partners to address adverse exposures.
Dr. Burgess' research has focused on translational environmental health issues with an emphasis on evaluation and prevention of injurious exposures to Native Americans, firefighters, miners and populations exposed to arsenic in their water and food. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) for several current research and training projects, including: a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funded Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research; a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded grant to create a multicenter prospective cohort study of cancer in the fire service; a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) funded evaluation of alternative fuels to reduce exposures and health effects from diesel engine underground mining equipment; and NIOSH funded training grants for industrial hygiene students and mining safety and health. Dr. Burgess has also worked as an Emergency Medicine physician, Medical Toxicologist and Occupational and Environmental Medicine physician.