Over the past 15 years, Burrell has helped design more than 15 medical processes and products. He is named as the inventor on more than 30 U.S. patents and patent applications. In 1995, he made an important breakthrough in dressing design using nanocrystalline silver technology, one of the most significant advances in wound-care history. While working for Westaim Corp.'s Nucryst Pharmaceuticals he invented Acticoat, a silver-based wound dressing that has antimicrobial properties and speeds healing. The dressing is often used in burn units and is now sold around the world.
Along with his Canada Research Chair designation, Dr. Burrell has been awarded the World Union of Wound Healing Society Lifetime Achievement Award for recognition of contributions to wound healing around the world, and the 2009 ASM Engineering Materials Achievement Award.