Alan C. Burton

Founder of Medical Biophysics at UWO

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Inductee

Alan C. Burton In April 2010, Dr. Alan C. Burton was inducted into The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for his enormous contributions to science and medicine.

He was recruited to the University of Western Ontario in 1945 where he founded and led the first Department of Biophysics in a Canadian medical school from1948-1970 . He repeatedly turned down numerous positions in the United States, and his department is now one of Canada's largest biophysics departments, known for its innovative graduate program. In his later years, Dr. Burton turned his energies towards the problem of cancer, including protection against cancer by altitude, once again showing how simple physics can help to more clearly understand medical problems.

Two of Dr. Burton's former graduate students, Peter B. Canham and  Alfred W. L. Jay, accomplished scientists in their own right, have chronicled the scientific career of their mentor in a book titled: Pioneer in Biophysics: Alan C. Burton 1904 to 1979. READ MORE ....


"Burton is one of the outstanding pioneers of modern biophysics"
Peter Canham, Professor Emeritus, and Former Chair of Medical Biophysics

Alan Burton came to the University of Western Ontario in 1945 and initiated the new department of Biophysics in 1947. He came to Canada from England in 1927 with a first class honours B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics from University College, London. Post-graduate work in Physics followed at the University of Toronto (Ph.D. 1932).

Subsequently he worked at the University of Rochester Medical School on energy exchanges in man and, with a Rockefeller Fellowship in Medical Physics, at the University of Pennsylvania on peripheral circulation and regulation of human body temperatures. Dr. Burton returned to Canada for war work in aviation medicine and on protective clothing at the National Research Council. After the war, Professor Burton joined the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario to establish the Department of Medical Biophysics.

He is the author of over 160 scientific papers as well as numerous texts, monographs, and reviews. He supervised some 35 graduate students (Dr. Canham being one of them) and was a brilliant and stimulating teacher of Physiology to medical students, biophysics to science students, and statistics to graduate students. Late in his career he directed his considerable energy to the challenge of the epidemiology of human cancer. The regard for Alan Burton in the scientific community has been shown by the awards received and positions to which he was elected.

In 1946 he received the M.B.E. for his scientific contributions in aviation medicine and for work on protective clothing, was elected President of the American Physiological Society (1956), the Canadian Physiological Society (1959), and Biophysical Society (1966). He was recipient of the Gairdner Foundation Award for Cardiovascular Research in 1961. In addition, he was given an honorary Law degree (L.L.D.) from the University of Alberta in 1964, an honorary L.L.D. from Brock University in 1972, and an honorary D.Sc. from The University of Western Ontario in 1974.





Important News for 2014 Graduate Applicants

In Your Statement of Intent, 
please indicate in which area(s) of graduate research you are interested & why your academic and research background has attributes relevant to your intention to pursue a graduate degree in Medical Biophysics.

If you are a domestic applicant - START HERE - to submit your application.

If you are applying to the PhD Med Biop Clin MSc CAMPEP Accredited stream of the Medical Biophysics graduate program - START HERE

If you are an international applicant - START HERE - to submit your application.

MUST READ: Graduate Chair's Notes for All MBP Students

The Top 10 Things A MBP Graduate Student Needs To Know (presented by Baraa Al-Khazraji, senior PhD student)

Above presentations best viewed using Google Chrome

Western's Learning Skills Services for Graduate Students offers excellent advice and counselling about balancing the challenges of conducting research, writing your dissertation, and maintaining a personal life. An effective example of their services is tips on time management

View the Slide Show from the 2013 A. C. Burton Lecture

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In Memory of Dr. Alan C. Groom, Professor Emeritius, the Alan C. Groom Memorial Fund Has Been Established. See Presentation  ...
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Founder, Medical Biophysics, UWO, and
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Inductee


View UWO Libraries video seminars presented by globally recognized scientists covering all biomedical topics


Also of interest:

Department of Medical Biophysics - Learning through Research