Principal Investigator

Johns Hopkins Pathology

Lab Members

Kathleen_BurnsI am a physician-scientist and practicing hematopathologist at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. I completed my M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and moved to Baltimore for a clinical pathology (CP) residency and hematopathology fellowship at Johns Hopkins. I am now an Associate Professor. My 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, my 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 (Rodic et al., 2014). We have demonstrated acquired LINE-1 insertion events during the evolution of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and other gastrointestinal tract tumors (Rodic 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. My 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. Some of the most engaging and gratifying aspects of my work are teaching, experiment planning, and problem solving at the lab bench and in lab meetings. To trainees from the undergraduate to the postdoctoral fellow level, I invite you to explore our webpage, read about our work on mobile DNAs, and visit our laboratory in Baltimore, Maryland.

Kathleen H. Burns, M.D., Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
733 N. Broadway, MRB 447
Baltimore, MD 21205
Office: 410-502-7214
Lab: 410-614-9229