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Martin Burke is pioneering the lego-like synthesis of small molecules. In contrast to the traditional complex and customized approach, Burke has demonstrated that his simple and increasingly general lego-like platform for making small molecules is well-suited for automation and integration with artificial intelligence, thus opening a path toward democratized molecular innovation. His chemistry has been used by hundreds of academic and industrial labs around the world to make a wide range of different natural products, pharmaceuticals, and materials, and many of his boronate building blocks are commercially available. In his own lab, Burke leveraged this lego-like chemistry to launch the field of molecular prosthetics and discover renal sparing antifungals. His group specifically identified a molecular prosthetic for cystic fibrosis that has reached the stage of a successful first clinical trial in people with CF, and additional molecular prosthetics for anemia and neurodegeneration which are at advanced stages of pre-clinical development. His group illuminated how the robustness of living systems interfaces with imperfect small molecule mimics to restore physiology, and has also leveraged this molecular prosthetics approach to better understand how loss of protein function causes human diseases. Burke also helped launch the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and served as its inaugural Associate Dean of Research. In this role, he led the SHIELD program for mitigating SARS-CoV-2 transmission at UIUC using a novel rapid-result COVID-19 saliva test, and in Fall 2020 there were hundreds of fewer COVID-related deaths relative to expected in Champaign County. During the pandemic, Burke advised the U.S. Center for Disease Control, U.S. Marine Corps, Council on Foreign Relations, American Public Health Association, Rockefeller Foundation, National Academy of Science Engineering and Medicine, Office of the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health, White House COVID-19 Response Team, and Biden Presidential Transition Team, along with many K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. The SHIELD saliva test has now been deployed >20 million times in schools, colleges, universities, businesses, and many other communities worldwide. Burke is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry, the Yoshimasa Hirata Memorial Gold Medal, the Mukaiyama Award, the Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Original Contribution in Organic Synthesis by a Young Investigator, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, and a Presidential Medallion from the University of Illinois, and he has been recognized many times as a Teacher Ranked as Excellent. Burke is the scientific founder of four biotechnology companies with five drug candidates that have entered clinical trials. He received his undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University, a PhD at Harvard University, and an MD at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Burke is the founding Director of the Molecule Maker Lab at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and a founding member of the Molecule Maker Lab Institute at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Burke is now the May and Ving Lee Professor for Chemical Innovation in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.