The Burns Lab

  • 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 (Rodi? et al., 2014). We have demonstrated acquired LINE-1 insertion events during the evolution of metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and other gastrointestinal tract tumors (Rodi? 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.

    Research Areas: cancer, DNA, malignant tumors

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

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