Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Meet Our Scientists

Directors

Timothy Osborne, Ph.D.

Timothy Osborne, Ph.D. Director of the Johns Hopkins All Children's Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research

Dr. Osborne is director of the Johns Hopkins All Children's Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research and a professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The institute focuses on basic science and supports and collaborates with researchers in other institutes, departments and centers throughout Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dr. Osborne studies the regulation of cholesterol and fatty-acid metabolism and how that impacts physiology and cell biology with a focus on Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Proteins (SREBPs). His research suggests SREBPs are key to understanding cell-environment interactions such as nutrient sensing and responses to organic and biological threats. Dr. Osborne also is part of a National Institutes of Health-funded study into why some people gain fat in the abdomen and others in the thigh area and what impact that has on their cardiovascular health.

Born in Ouray, Colorado, Dr. Osborne studied fundamental biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and then earned his Ph.D. in microbiologyand molecular biology at UCLA. He did a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and then became an assistant professor there, working in the lab of Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein, who won the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism.” Dr. Osborne spent 20 years at UC Irvine, working his way up to full professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. He most recently worked for the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute in Lake Nona, Florida, as a professor and program director and ultimately scientific director.



Laszlo Nagy, M.D., Ph.D.

Laszlo Nagy, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Metabolic Origins of Disease

Dr. Nagy is associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Metabolic Origins of Disease, a program that spans Johns Hopkins Medicine campuses in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Baltimore, Maryland. He also is co-director of the Johns Hopkins All Children's Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research and a professor of medicine (PAR) in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has training as both a physician and a molecular and cellular biologist.

Dr. Nagy’s research focuses on identifying and understanding how cells’ identity develops and how their differentiation contributes to human diseases. He seeks to understand how the extra- and intracellular lipid environment contributes to cellular development and differentiation and what impact that has on components of the immune system. In this context, Dr. Nagy also studies what causes cells to use certain pieces of genetic information and not others and what causes that process to sometimes result in diseases such as chronic inflammation, tissue degeneration or cancer. Studying these questions while evaluating the entire genome makes it more likely to discover key changes related to a particular disease and to find reliable biomarkers to monitor that disease. Those answers may lead to better diagnoses and novel therapies.

Dr. Nagy earned his medical degree at the University Medical School of Debrecen, Hungary. He earned a Ph.D. also at that institution on work done at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, working with Peter J.A. Davies, M.D., Ph.D and László Fesüs, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Nagy did a post-doctoral fellowship under Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. He returned to the University of Debrecen, working his way up to full professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He also founded the Clinical Genomics Center there. He most recently worked as a professor and founding director of the Genomic Control of Metabolism Program at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in Lake Nona, Florida. He joined Johns Hopkins All Children’s in 2018.


Scientists

Masanobu Komatsu, Ph.D.

Masanobu Komatsu, Ph.D. Senior Scientist in the Johns Hopkins All Children's Department of Surgery and the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute

Dr. Komatsu is a senior scientist in the Johns Hopkins All Children's Department of Surgery and the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute. He also has a secondary affiliation with the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research. He is an associate professor (PAR) in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He studies the malfunction and malformation of blood vessels and how that impacts medical conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndromes. He hopes to discover ways to restore normal function to those vessels, which would have a profound effect on enhancing treatments.

Dr. Komatsu’s group is studying a novel mechanism of blood vessel maturationthat involves the R-RAS protein, which is a promising pathway toward a new strategy for manipulating blood vessel function.He also is focused on vascular targeting strategies that could enable direct delivery of drugs to tumors and other diseased tissues through unique molecular signatures of blood vessels at specific sites in the body. This can produce increased effectiveness of the drug therapy with reduced side effects.

Dr. Komatsu also has found success in targeting the lung lesions associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension(PAH), a serious lung disorder. He hopes the use of a 9 amino-acid cyclic peptide can target the lesions and become a drug delivery system to prevent PAH.

He holds patents related to R-RAS and peptide-mediated vascular targeting of PAH.Dr. Komatsu earned an undergraduate degree in marine science/biology and a Ph.D. in cell biology at the University of Miami, where he also did post-doctoral training in immunology. He continued post-doctoral studies under Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. He became an assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pathology while maintaining an adjunct position with Sanford Burnham. He joined Sanford Burnham full time in 2008 before coming to Johns Hopkins All Children’s in 2018.



Ranjan Perera, Ph.D.

Ranjan Perera, Ph.D. Director of the Center for RNA Biology at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital
Senior Scientist in the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute

Dr. Perera is director of the Center for RNA Biology at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, a senior scientist in the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute and an associate professor (PAR) of oncology in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also has a secondary affiliation with the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research. He uses biology, analytic genomics and bioinformatics to seek patterns that can lead to treatments for aggressive cancers.

Dr. Perera’s research focuses on genes and identifying those susceptible to changes that lead to disease. He seeks to identify these changes early in life, which would allow early intervention through surgery or therapies that could prevent or alter the course of the disease.

Dr. Perera earned his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Moscow State University in Russia, and the University of Gent in Belgium. He completed post-doctoral studies in gene targeting and DNA recombination at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked for several biotech and pharmaceutical companies before joining the faculty at Mercer University’s School of Medicine as an associate professor and director of genomics and research and development at Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial Health Medical Center. He then worked for the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute before joining Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in 2018. He is also an adjunct faculty to the NCI-designated Cancer Center at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California.​



Matthew Poy, Ph.D.

Matthew Poy, Ph.D. Senior Scientist and a member of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research

Dr. Poy is a senior scientist and a member of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research. He also is an assistant professor of medicine in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He studies the function of non-coding RNAs in energy metabolism and their regulatory role in the pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes.

Dr. Poy is among the first to describe how microRNA—tiny molecules that fine-tune how genes carry out the information encoded in our DNA—could target a specific gene and control insulin secretion. He is at the leading edge of microRNA research, which holds promise for understanding how these molecules contribute to an adaptive, compensatory response in the regulation of glucose homeostasis, and may be applied to treatment for diabetes and potentially other metabolic-based diseases related to the pancreas, heart and liver.

Dr. Poy also has studied the regulatory role of the brain in energy metabolism and recently published several papers on Cell adhesion molecule 1 (CADM1), a gene in the brain associated with weight gain. He hopes learning more could lead to predictive markers for obesity that allow for early intervention in children. “One of the goals coming to Johns Hopkins is understanding how genes like CADM1 and how microRNA contribute to the circuits of the brain, which regulate metabolism,” Dr. Poy says.

Born in Bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Poy studied biology and earned a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo. He did post-doctoral work with Markus Stoffel, M.D., Ph.D., at Rockefeller University and relocated in 2007 with Dr. Stoffel to the ETH-Zürich in Switzerland. In 2008, Dr. Poy started a 10-year stint at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany, before joining Johns Hopkins All Children’s in 2018.



Rui Zhou, Ph.D.

Rui Zhou, Ph.D. Scientist in the Johns Hopkins All Children's Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute and a member of the Center for RNA Biology

Dr. Zhou is a scientist in the Johns Hopkins All Children's Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute and a member of the Center for RNA Biology. He has a secondary affiliation with the Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research. He also is an assistant professor of oncology in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Regulatory non-coding RNAs play a key role in a wide array of physiological processes, including cell cycle, development, innate immunity and homeostasis. Dysregulation of non-coding RNA production or function can lead to various pathological conditions in humans. Dr. Zhou’s group uses a combination of biochemical, genetic and functional genomic approaches to study the function and regulation of non-coding RNAs. His lab particularly focuses on how defects in microRNA and circular RNA production and/or function can lead to immune disorder, defective neural development and tumor formation.

Dr. Zhou studied biochemistry and molecular biology at Peking University and biochemistry at Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry. He then trained with Dr. Tom Maniatis at Harvard University for doctoral studies in molecular and cellular biology. After postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Norbert Perrimon, Dr. Zhou joined Sanford Burnham Prebys in La Jolla, California, where he worked as an independent investigator until 2018 when he joined Johns Hopkins All Children's.




*PAR stands for Pending Academic Review, a standard step in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine academic appointment process.