Skip Navigation
Search Menu
Find an Expert

 


Kathleen Helen Burns, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Kathleen Helen Burns, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pathology

Female

Expertise: Hematologic Pathology, Hematopathology, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Pathology

Research Interests: Roles of transposable elements and other mobile DNAs in human disease

Request an Appointment

I live in Maryland

410-502-7214
Request an appointment through MyChart!

I live outside of Maryland

410-464-6641
Request Appointment

I live outside of the United States

+1-410-502-7683
Request Appointment

Locations

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Appointment Phone: 410-502-7214

4940 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224 map

Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
Appointment Phone: 410-502-7214

601 N. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Appointment Phone: 410-502-7214

600 N. Wolfe Street
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

Background

Much of our genome is highly repetitive sequence derived from self-propagating mobile DNAs.

Dr. Burns is a physician-scientist and practicing hematopathologist at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research laboratory studies roles mobile DNAs play in human disease. She was one of the first people to develop a targeted method for amplifying mobile DNA insertion sites in the human genome, and showed that these are a significant source of structural variation. This was published in her first last author paper in Cell in 2010. Since that time, her laboratory has 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. She is interested to explore the utility of this protein as a clinical biomarker. As part of a Center for the Systems Biology of Retrotransposition, her group is continuing to develop high throughput tools to characterize these understudied sequences in genomes and to understand mechanisms underlying the expression and genetic stability of interspersed repeats in normal and malignant tissues. Finally, she has two R01 awards to study functional consequences of inherited sequence variants, and exciting evidence that these predispose to cancer risk and other disease phenotypes. Her lab 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. Dr. Burns enjoys teaching and problem solving at the lab bench, and her research group includes postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.

Kathy completed her M.D., Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine and was recruited to Johns Hopkins for CP residency training in 2004. She served as Chief Resident in 2006. She participates in several activities within the Department of Pathology and is the Department Deputy Director for Research.

...read more

Titles

  • Associate Professor of Pathology
  • Associate Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

Education

Degrees

  • MD PhD, Baylor College of Medicine (2004)

Residencies

  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Pathology (2007)

Fellowships

  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Pathology (2008)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pathology / Clinical Pathology (2008)
  • American Board of Pathology / Pathology - Hematology (2008)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

My research laboratory studies 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 (Cell, 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 (Am J Pathology, 2014). We have demonstrated acquired LINE-1 insertion events during the evolution of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and other gastrointestinal tract tumors (Nat Med, 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.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Pathobiology Graduate Program

Activities & Honors

Honors

  • National Merit Scholar, 1993
  • National Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, 1995
  • National Graduate Scholarship, Phi Kappa Phi , 1997
  • National Graduate Scholarship, Alpha Lambda Delta , 1997
  • Summa cum laude graduate, University of Southern Mississippi, 1997
  • Research T32 Fellowship Award, National Eye Institute, 2001
  • Lalor Foundation Travel Award, Society for the Study of Reproduction, 2002
  • M.S.T.P. Research Publication Award, Baylor College of Medicine , 2003
  • Outstanding Graduate Student, Baylor College of Medicine , 2004
  • 10thAnnual Young Investigators’ Day Award for Excellence in Basic Research, Johns Hopkins University, 2008
  • Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center Fellow Research Day Honorable Mention for Basic Research, Johns Hopkins University, 2008
  • Career Award for Medical Scientists (CAMS), Burroughs Wellcome Fund, 2008
  • M.S.T.P. Student’s Choice Award and Lectureship, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 2014

Memberships

  • American Society of Clinical Pathology
  • American Society of Hematology
  • United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology

Videos & Media

Lectures and Presentations

  • Cancer Biology and The "Junk" Genome
    Partnering for Discovery Seminar; Turner Concourse (01/14/2015)
    Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • New Perspectives on Junk DNA; Keynote speaker
    Medical Scientist Training Program , 5th Annual MD/PhD Student's Choice Award Recipient (01/15/2014)
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • Five Steps Further: A Guide to Research
    Undergraduate Research Symposium; College of Arts and Letters and the Center for Undergraduate Research (01/11/2014)
    University of Southern Mississippi
  • Mapping and Functional Analysis of Transposable Element Insertions; Transposable Elements in the Brain and Other Tissues: Prevalence and Function Banbury Center
    Cold Spring Harbor (01/01/2013)
    Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Profiling L1 and Alu Retrotransposon Polymorphism in Normal Samples and Cancer Cell Panels; A New Horizon of Retroposon Research
    63rd Annual Fujihara Seminar Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology , Kyoto (01/31/2012)
    Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Repetitive DNA, DNA, DNA; PCTB 517
    Center for Computational Genomics Seminar (01/14/2012)
    Johns Hopkins Universiry School of Medicine
  • The Mobile Genome: Genetic and Physiological Impacts of Transposable Elements
    Invited speaker , EMBO/EMBL Symposium , EMBL Advance Training Center (ATC) , Heidelberg, Germany (09/17/2015)

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Kathleen Burns on Mobile DNA and Cancer (Fundamentals)

Is this you? Edit Profile