The Burns laboratory is located in the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. We study mobile DNAs and their effects on mammalian genomes. We invite you to explore our webpage, read about our work on mobile DNAs, and visit our laboratory in Baltimore, Maryland.
Our research laboratory studies the roles mobile DNAs play in human disease. Our group was one of the first to develop a targeted method for amplifying mobile DNA insertion sites in the human genome, and we showed that these are a significant source of structural variation (Huang et al., 2010). Since that time, our group has continued to develop high throughput tools to characterize these understudied sequences in genomes and to describe the expression and genetic stability of interspersed repeats in normal and malignant tissues. We have developed a monoclonal antibody to one of the proteins encoded for by Long INterspersed Element-1 (LINE-1) and showed its aberrant expression in a wide breadth of human cancers (Rodić et al., 2014). We have demonstrated acquired LINE-1 insertion events during the evolution of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and other gastrointestinal tract tumors (Rodić et al., 2015). We have major projects focused on studying functional consequences of inherited sequence variants, and exciting evidence that these predispose to cancer risk and other disease phenotypes. Our laboratory is using a combination of genome wide association study (GWAS) analyses, custom RNA-seq analyses, semi-high throughput gene expression reporter assays, and murine models to pursue this hypothesis.