Dr. Burns was raised primarily in Alexandria, VA. He says primarily because much of his childhood was spent hopping around the country to his father’s various Coast Guard postings, including Maryland, Rhode Island, North Carolina, and Oregon.

After completing high school in Virginia, he earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University, where he majored in neuroscience and minored in biology and chemistry. His senior thesis on mouse models of Alzheimer’s Disease allowed him to graduate with distinction.

He subsequently worked as a microbiology research assistant at both Vanderbilt University and the University of Iowa, where he helped author multiple publications.

He earned his dental degree from the University of Iowa in 2021, where he graduated in the top ten percent of his class and was inducted into Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the national dental honor society.

In dental school he served as class vice president, conducted research on oral stem cells, and wrote for the national student publication Contour.  His fondest memory remains winning the intramural flag football championship with his classmates. He liked Iowa so much that he stuck around to complete his residency in periodontics, at which point he also earned a master’s degree, which included a research project related to changes in oral tissues following e-cigarette use. He has presented his research at numerous national and international conferences, including the IADR meeting in Vancouver, Canada, the AADOCR Research Day at the University of Iowa, and the Midwest Society of Periodontology's annual conference in Chicago, IL. In 2024 he was the recipient of the Dental Specialty Award from the Iowa Society of Periodontology. He also earned honorable mention in the Graduate Student Research Forum poster competition at the Midwest Society of Periodontology's annual conference in Chicago. At the same conference, his case on soft tissue grafting for treatment of gingival recessions earned first place in the Resident Case Competition, which is awarded to the top presentor from among all residency programs in the Midwest. 

Dr. Burns comes to Vermont with his better half Victoria, who earned her PhD in literature from Iowa in 2023, their children Theodore and Eloise, and two toy poodles Ella and Kiki. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the outdoors, and looks forward to the year-round recreation Vermont has to offer. He is also an avid baker, and he and his wife have an almost religious dedication to The Great British Baking Show. His other hobbies include cross stitching Christmas stockings, reading, running, and winning arguments with his wife.