John Burns is a systems biologist who considers biological problems across scales from the molecular to the cellular through global scales. He works in a variety of biological systems on linking genomic information to the functions, forms, and behaviors of cells and whole organisms (www.protistsystems.org). His research provided the first predictive model of the complex process of phagocytosis (cellular eating). The model has been leveraged to discover new functionality in diverse algae, contributing to our growing understanding of the importance of mixotrophy in the global oceans. He also studies symbioses, including photosymbioses in enigmatic marine protists and a unique vertebrate-alga partnership between a salamander and a green alga. Burns is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and a Research Associate of the American Museum of Natural History. He received his BA in Geoscience from Franklin and Marshall College in 2001 and his PhD in molecular biology in 2012 from New York University.