Kelly A. Burke

Director, IMS Polymer Program

Associate Professor

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


  • NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow, Tufts University
  • Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University (2010)

Research Focus

  • Synthesis and structure-property relationships of multifunctional polymeric materials, such as those with self-healing, shape changing, or self-assembling properties
  • Stimuli responsive polymers and networks, including liquid crystalline materials
  • Natural and synthetic biomaterials
  • Design and application of polymeric systems to modulate inflammation and promote healing


  • National Institute of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2012
  • Materials Research Society Graduate Student Silver Award, 2009
  • American Chemical Society ICI Graduate Student Award in Applied Polymer Science, 2007
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship, 2005-2008


Heichel, D.L.; Tumbic, J.A.; Boch, M.A.; Ma, A.W.K.; Burke, K.A. “Silk Fibroin Reactive Inks for 3D Printing Crypt-Like Structures” Biomedical Materials 2020, accepted.

Heichel, D.L; Burke, K.A. “Enhancing the Carboxylation Efficiency of Silk Fibroin through the Disruption of Noncovalent Interactions.” Bioconjugate Chemistry 2020, 31, (5), 1307–1312.

Wang, Y.; McKinstry, A.H.; Burke, K.A. “Main-Chain Liquid Crystalline Hydrogels that Support 3D Stem Cell Culture.” Biomacromolecules 2020, 2020, 21, (6), 2365–2375.

Heichel, D.L; Burke, K.A. “Dual mode crosslinking enhances adhesion of silk fibroin hydrogels to intestinal tissue.” ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering 2019, 5, (7), 3246-3259.

O’Brien, C.; McBride, A.; Zaghi, A.E.; Burke, K.A; Hill, A. “Mechanical Behavior of Stainless Steel Fiber-Reinforced Composites Exposed to Accelerated Corrosion.”Materials 2017, 10, (7), 772.

McBride, A.K.; Turek, S.L.; Zaghi, A.E.; Burke, K.A. “Mechanical Behavior of Hybrid Glass/Steel Fiber Reinforced Epoxy Composites.”Polymers 2017,9, (4), 151.

Heichel, D.L.; Roberts, D.C.; Kaplan, D.L.; Burke, K.A. “Protein-based catechol conjugates as aqueous adhesives and networks.”Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology Conference Abstract: 10th World Biomaterials Congress 2016, doi: 10.3389/conf.FBIOE.2016.01.

Burke, K.A.; Brenckle, M.A.; Kaplan, D.L; Omenetto, F.G. “Evaluation of the Spectral Response of Functionalized Silk Inverse Opals as Colorimetric Immunosensors.”ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 2016, 8(25), 16218-26.

Burke, K.A.; Roberts, D.C.; Kaplan, D.L. “Silk Fibroin Aqueous-Based Adhesives Inspired by Mussel Adhesive Proteins.”Biomacromolecules 2016, 17, (1), 237-245.

Abbott, R.D.; Raja, W.R.; Wang, R.Y.; Stinson, J.A.; Glettig, D.L.; Burke, K.A.;Kaplan, D.L. “Long term perfusion system supporting adipogenesis.” Methods 2015, 84, 84-89.

Rnjak‐Kovacina, J.; DesRochers, T.M.; Burke, K.A.; Kaplan, D.L. “The effect of sterilization on silk fibroin biomaterial properties.”Macromolecular Bioscience 2015, 15, (6), 861-74.

Rnjak‐Kovacina, J.; Wray, L.S.; Burke, K.A.; Torregrosa, T.; Golinski, J.M.; Huang, W.; Kaplan, D.L. “Lyophilized silk sponges: a versatile biomaterial platform for soft tissue engineering.”ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering 2015, 1, (4), 260-70.

Lin, Y.; Wang, S.; Chen, Y.; Wang, Q.; Burke, K.A.; Spedden, E.M.; Staii, C.; Weiss, A.S.; Kaplan, D.L. “Electrodeposited gels prepared from protein alloys.”Nanomedicine 2015, 10, (5), 803-814.

Burke, K.A.; Rousseau, I.A.; Mather, P.T. “Reversible actuation in main-chain liquid crystalline elastomers with varying crosslink densities.”Polymer 2014, 55, (23), 5897-5907.

Partlow, B.P.; Hanna, C.W.; Rnjak-Kovacina, J.; Moreau, J.E.; Applegate, M.B; Burke, K.A.; Marelli, B.; Mitropoulos, A.N.; Omenetto, F.G.; Kaplan, D.L. “Highly tunable elastomeric silk biomaterials.”Advanced Functional Materials 2014, 24, (29), 4615-4624.

Seib, F.P.; Herklotz, M.; Burke, K.A.; Maitz, M.F.; Werner, C.; Kaplan, D.L. “Multifunctional silk-heparin biomaterials for vascular tissue engineering applications.”Biomaterials 2014, 35, (1), 83-91.

Dr. Kelly Burke
Contact Information
Mailing Address25 King Hill Road, Unit 3136, Storrs, CT 06269-3136
Office LocationScience 1 - MZ222