Dr. Burnier is a Full Professor of Ophthalmology, Pathology, Medicine, Oncology and Surgery at McGill University and the former Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at McGill (1993 to 2008). He was also the Thomas O. Hecht Family Chair in ophthalmology (1996-2012) – the first and only endowment Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology – which was awarded to Dr. Burnier upon his arrival as Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Burnier is currently the Director of Training & Development of the Research of the McGill University Health Centre Research Institute. Dr. Burnier received his MD and completed his residencies in Pathology and Ophthalmology in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He also completed his MSc. and a PhD. in Ocular Pathology at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. After his first Pathology fellowship at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) Washington, DC, Dr. Burnier returned to Sao Paulo and became the Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology, Federal University of Sao Paulo (1986-1989). In 1989, Dr. Burnier returned to the US as a Professor and as a Senior Scientist working at both the AFIP and the National Eye Institute, Bethesda, MD, until 1993 when he was recruited to McGill University to be Professor of Pathology and Ophthalmology, as well as Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology. Dr. Burnier established and directs the MUHC-McGill University Ocular Pathology & Translational Research Laboratory. This Unit is a unique facility in Canada and has become the largest research and training center in Ocular Pathology in North America. It plays a crucial role as a consultancy service to Pathologists, Ophthalmologists and Oncologists and a teaching facility to medical students, residents and fellows from Canada and around the world. The diversity of the publications in a variety of journals, such as Nature, Eye, Cancer, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, American Journal of Pathology, Pathology, Ophthalmology, British Journal of Ophthalmology and Carcinogenesis, among others, reflects the scope of this research and training program.
The Laboratory offers the only Ocular Pathology graduate program in North America. Over 250 fellows and graduate students from different countries have passed through the Laboratory. Since 1999, over 30 graduate students of the Laboratory completed their thesis at the Pathology Graduate Program, McGill University. Also during this time, 50 international graduate students from Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; University of Valladolid and University of Barcelona, Spain and University of Coimbra, Portugal completed their thesis.
Dr. Burnier is the author and co-author of over 650 publications, including 500 peerreviewed papers, 400 peer reviewed abstracts, over 70 publications in various scientific journals, three books and 21 book chapters. Dr. Burnier has served as Guest Speaker and Visiting Professor at many conferences and symposia across Canada, the United States, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia. Most recently, Dr. Burnier was chosen to deliver the Victor T. Curtin lecture at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, FL.
Dr. Burnier is an active member of over 20 societies. Dr. Burnier was the Editor-in-Chief of The Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology from 2002-2005. He continues to serve as Editorial Board Member and a reviewer for several publications, such as Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences (IOVS), Human Pathology, The American Journal of Pathology, The Canadian Journal of Pathology, The American Journal of Ophthalmology; Ophthalmology; Cancer, Clinical Cancer Research, Melanoma Research and The British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Burnier also holds international appointments such as Professor of Post Graduate Studies and Thesis Supervisor for the Department of Ophthalmology and Pathology, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology, University of Valladolid, Spain; and Professor and Consultant Pathologist for the AFIP American Registry of Pathology, Washington, DC, and Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
Dr. Burnier has won many awards including The University of Sao Paulo’s Gold Medal in Ophthalmology, The European Ophthalmology Award of Excellence, The American Academy of Ophthalmology Award of Excellence and The Pan American Association of Ophthalmology Life Achievement Award. Dr. Burnier is the recipient of the Rio Branco Medal, which corresponds to the Order of Brazil. In research, Dr. Burnier received the WHO Award for Melanoma research. In 2009, Dr. Burnier received the FARVO medal from the ARVO for his research contributions to the field of Ocular Pathology and Oncology. Recently, in 2012 Dr. Burnier received The Brazilian Academy of Science Award & Membership in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2017, Dr. Burnier was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS), as a McGill University member.
During the ceremony, the CAHS summarized Dr. Burnier’s achievements as follows: “He is well-recognized as a visionary leader in ophthalmology and pathology, being the only double-boarded physician in Canada. His ocular pathology laboratory is internationally recognized as one of the best in the world. His research in ocular diseases and ocular tumors, as well as, new ocular imaging techniques is cutting edge, making a great impact in the field.” In addition, Dr. Burnier has been unanimously chosen as the President-Elect of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology, PAAO (2018-2019) and the President of the PAAO (2019-2021). He is also the Chair #45 of the “Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis.” In 2016, the Portuguese Society of Ophthalmology (SPO) established the Professor Miguel Burnier Jr. Award to be given every year to the best young ophthalmologist of the country. In 2018, Dr. Burnier was the recipient of the Medal of Honor Jose Antoni o de Abreu Fialho given by the Brazilian Society of Ophthalmology (SBO). Recently in 2019, Dr. Burnier was honoured with the title of Professor Honoris Causa, Sao Paulo Medical School (EPM) UNIFESP in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Among his teaching awards, Dr. Burnier has received the 2006 Gradle Teaching Award given by The American Academy of Ophthalmology/Pan American Association of Ophthalmology. At McGill, Dr. Burnier was named to the Faculty Honour List for Educational Excellence in 2007. In Canada, Dr. Burnier received the Frederick Feldman Teaching Award from the University of Toronto. In celebration of the 10th Year Anniversary of the Henry C. Witelson Ocular Pathology Laboratory, the Burnier International Ocular Pathology Society (BIOPSY) was founded, which holds biennial conferences to unite past and current lab members and to encourage ongoing research in the fields of ophthalmology and pathology. The inaugural meeting of the society was in Montreal (May 6-8, 2010), followed by meetings in Spain (2012), Brazil (2014), Montreal (2016) and Portugal (2018). BIOPSY currently has 200 members and is known for its continuous growth worldwide.