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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge


Jesse Burns

Jesse Burns

Graduate student - Supervisor Prof James Wood


My background, most recently, is as a founder and chief executive of a technology company.  In my prior, healthcare-focused career, I served as a critical care paramedic, field epidemiologist, and program lead for organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization. 


Since 2006, I have served either as a clinician or public health professional in many international conflicts, disasters and infectious disease outbreaks. It is in these settings where I designed and built health surveillance systems to monitor refugee and host community health and wellbeing. My PhD will focus on the intersection of social interaction, data-specific technologies, public health and public policy. Understanding how data systems work is now more critical than ever in all professions.  Doctors and healthcare providers, at all levels, are behind professionals in other fields in terms of data and data-related technology utilization and medicine can learn much from other disciplines. Healthcare technology and personalized medicine initiatives, as they pertain to data ownership and knowledge, will be an important focus in my research.

Subject groups/Research projects

Mathematical Biology:

Research Interests

My PhD research is interdisciplinary. As well as with core supervisors, I will work with faculty in the Institute of Public Health, the Sociology Department, the Bennett Institute of Public Policy and the Turing Institute.


The CEO of Microsoft recently stated that ‘our planet is currently 35 years into an 80 year conversion from analog to digital’.  This effects all of us, in every field.  Now is the time directly to address this massive societal transformation and understand, explore and utilize data and technology in medicine, healthcare delivery and beyond.  As a first year PhD student, I plan to research this transformation; in healthcare and beyond.


  • Data science
  • Statistics
  • Data & Policy
  • Health informatics

Key Publications

2015      Principal Investigator: ‘Middle East Regional Comprehensive Assessment Program’ (Conflict & Health: Current submission).  Berns, Boulle, Fernandez, Ghantous

2015       Principal Investigator: ‘Health Assessment Project: Middle East’ (MSF Press).  Berns, Boulle, Fernandez.

2014       Principal Investigator: Access to Health Care survey (MSF Press). Berns, Fernandez, Boulle, MSF (in the media).

2013    Principal Investigator: ‘Syrian Refugee Access To Care’ (WHO Press). Berns, Garfield, Jaffar