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Faculty Spotlight

Adrienne Tin, PhD, followed  a nontraditional route to her academic research career. Drawn to the rational process of mathematics and the practical utility of computer algorithms, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from New York University, which eventually led to a management position in software development at an investment bank. In 2004, with the goal of a career in a non-financial sector, Adrienne received her master’s degree in Applied Statistics from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and began working as a Data Manager and Analyst at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Eager to learn more, and with her supervisor’s support, she audited epidemiology and genetic epidemiology classes at Columbia University. Given the emergence of high-throughput technology in genetics, Adrienne realized  she could leverage her skills in software development toward research in genetic epidemiology. She began to pursue the possibility of a doctoral degree in Epidemiology.

Initially, Adrienne’s school of choice was Columbia, but after a professor at Columbia told her to “think big,” she applied to other schools of public health; an offer from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health followed.

In 2012, Adrienne earned her PhD in Epidemiology, concentrating in genetic epidemiology under the guidance of her advisor, the late W. H. Linda Kao. Three years of post-doctoral research in the Department of Epidemiology was followed by Adrienne’s appointment to the Epidemiology faculty as an Assistant Scientist in 2015, and to the Welch Center’s Core Faculty in 2017.

Adrienne’s work focuses on chronic kidney disease and related traits. She realized that she needed to understand biological pathways by integrating other omics data with genetics; therefore she has steadily expanded her research to include the study of gene expression and epigenetics. The author / co-author of 50+ peer-reviewed articles, Adrienne published the first validated algorithms for quantifying the deletion of glutathione S-transferase Mu 1 (GSTM1), an important gene in our response to oxidative stress, using exome sequencing reads (R21). She aims to apply her expertise to identify potential treatment targets for kidney disease and gout -- the most common type of inflammatory arthritis and the focus of her R01 grant – and to use omics data to predict disease risk, which could help with stratifying patients for more effective prevention or treatment strategies.

Adrienne credits her achievements to writer Joseph Campbell’s philosophy of following one’s bliss, and to the open, supportive environment at JHSPH and the Welch Center exemplified by her mentors, Drs. Coresh, Grams, Köttgen, Appel, Kao, and Beaty.