Tom Burns is an Australian writer and aspiring neuroscientist. He holds degrees in science and bioethics and is a PhD candidate at Monash University. Among other outlets, his byline has graced The Diplomat, Huffington Post, The Australian, and Al Jazeera. Follow him on Twitter @tfburns and read his blog www.tfburns.com.
In his research, Tom analyses electrophysiological signals from a range of cortical areas in response to stimuli and trauma. He is currently focused on modelling rat barrel cortex. He is interested in applying his findings in the areas of real-time diagnostics and neuromorphic computing by way of techniques developed in computational and theoretical neuroscience.
In 2013, he completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours at Monash University. His thesis focused on how humans perceive non-linguistic sounds and how these perceptions relate to a sound’s mathematical or statistical features. In 2014, Tom took a sea change from science to pursue his interest in philosophy and ethics, completing a Master of Bioethics. As part of this course, he produced a thesis which analysed the ethics of proposed euthanasia legislation in Australian jurisdictions.
He was awarded the Monash-World Health Organization Bioethics Fellowship in 2015, which led to him spending three months at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. There he contributed towards bioethical analysis of the Ebola epidemic response in West Africa.
Currently, Tom holds an Australian Postgraduate Award and is completing his PhD in the Department of Physiology at Monash University.