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Kathleen Helen Burns, MD PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology
Appointment Phone


Main Location

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

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Out-of-State & International Patients +
Out of State Patients

Call 410-464-6641 (8a.m. to 6p.m., EST, Mon-Fri)

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International Patients

Call +1-410-502-0773 (7a.m. to 6p.m., EST, Mon-Fri)

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  • Associate Professor of Pathology
  • Associate Professor of Oncology

Centers & Institutes

  • Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center


Hematologic Pathology, Hematopathology, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Pathology


  • English

Additional Resources

Additional Resources +
  • Education +


    • Baylor College of Medicine ( Houston TX) (2004)


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


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


    • American Board of Pathology / Clinical Pathology (2008)
    • Hematology, American Board of Pathology / Pathology (2008)
  • Research & Publications +

    Selected Publications

    Research Summary

    My laboratory studies roles of transposable elements and other mobile DNAs in human disease, with an emphasis on cancer development. There is compelling evidence that these poorly understood sequences can contribute to genomic instability and mRNA transcript alterations in the context of neoplasia, and we believe inherited insertions also may create predispositions to disease.
    Projects in the lab include: (i.) The development of one-sided PCR based assays to map mobile DNAs in the human genome; (ii.) Finding evidence for somatic insertions of mobilized DNAs in cancers, and exploring potential clinical markers and mechanisms underlying this instability; (iii.) Describing common inherited transposon insertion polymorphisms in cancer patients and assessing whether these structural variations contribute to cancer susceptibility or tumor progression.

    Journal Citations

    Mobile interspersed repeats are major structural variants in the human genome. Huang CR, Schneider AM, Lu Y, Niranjan T, Shen P, Robinson MA, Steranka JP, Valle D, Civin CI, Wang T, Wheelan SJ, Ji H, Boeke JD, Burns KH. Cell. 2010 Jun 25;141(7):1171-82.

    Roles of retrotransposons in benign and malignant hematologic disease. Schneider AM, Duffield AS, Symer DE, Burns KH. Cellscience. 2009 Oct 27;6(2):121-145

    Great exaptations. Burns KH, Boeke JD. J Biol. 2008;7(2):5.

    A descent into the nuage: the maelstrom of transposon control. O''Donnell KA, Burns KH, Boeke JD. Dev Cell. 2008 Aug;15(2):179-81.

    GASZ is essential for male meiosis and suppression of retrotransposon expression in the male germline. Ma L, Buchold GM, Greenbaum MP, Roy A, Burns KH, Zhu H, Han DY, Harris RA, Coarfa C, Gunaratne PH, Yan W, Matzuk MM. PLoS Genet. 2009 Sep;5(9):e1000635.

    Burns, F.J.; Samet, J.M.; Rossman, T.G.; Zhang, R.; Wu, F.; Uddin, A.N.; Shore, R.E. Radiation Carcinogenesis: Mechanisms of Induction. In: Rom, R.W., editor. 4th ed, Environmental and Occupational Medicine. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007. p. 1262-1276.

    Hanes, J.W.; Burns, K.E.; Hilmey, D.G.; Chatterjee, A.; Dorrestein, P.C.; Begley, T.P. Mechanistic studies on pyridoxal phosphate synthase: the reaction pathway leading to a chromophoric intermediate. J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Mar 12;130(10):3043-3052.

    Sandford, G.R.; Schumacher, U.; Ettinger, J.; Brune, W.; Hayward, G.S.; Burns, W.H.; Voigt, S. Deletion of the rat cytomegalovirus immediate early 1 gene results in a virus capable of establishing latency but with lower levels of acute virus replication and latency that compromise reactivation efficiency. J Gen Virol. 2009 Nov 18.

    Wheless, L.; Ruczinski, I.; Alani, R.M.; Clipp, S.; Hoffman-Bolton, J.; Jorgensen, T.J.; Liegeois, N.J.; Strickland, P.T.; Alberg, A.J. The association between skin characteristics and skin cancer prevention behaviors. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Oct;18(10):2613-2619.

    Burns, T.F.; Rudin, C.M. Lung cancer in 'never-smokers': beyond EGFR mutations and EGFR-TK inhibitors. Oncology (Williston Park). 2010 Jan;24(1):48-49.

    Burns, W.R.; Zeiger, M.A. Differentiated thyroid cancer. Semin Oncol. 2010 Dec;37(6):557-566.

    Huang, C.R.; Schneider, A.M.; Lu, Y.; Niranjan, T.; Shen, P.; Robinson, M.A.; Steranka, J.P.; Valle, D.; Civin, C.I.; Wang, T.; Wheelan, S.J.; Ji, H.; Boeke, J.D.; Burns, K.H. Mobile interspersed repeats are major structural variants in the human genome. Cell. 2010 Jun 25;141(7):1171-1182.

    O'Donnell, K.A.; Burns, K.H. Mobilizing diversity: transposable element insertions in genetic variation and disease. Mob DNA. 2010;1(1):21.
  • Academic Affiliations & Courses +
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  • Contact & Locations +


    Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
    4940 Eastern Avenue
    Baltimore, MD 21224
    Appointment Phone: 410-502-7214
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    Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
    601 N. Caroline Street
    Baltimore, MD 21287
    Appointment Phone: 410-502-7214
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    The Johns Hopkins Hospital
    600 N. Wolfe Street
    Hospital Main Entrance - Sheikh Zayed Tower
    Baltimore, MD 21287
    Appointment Phone: 410-502-7214
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