Winston Timp, PhD

Assistant Professor

Office: Clark 118A
Lab: The Timp Lab


PhD, Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2007)
MS. Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2005)
BS, Biochemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana (2002)
BS, Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana (2002)
BS, Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana (2002)
BS, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana (2001)

Research Interests

Winston Timp, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, focuses on the development and application of sequencing technologies to gain a deeper understanding of biology and a more accurate set of clinical tools for human disease. He holds joint appointments in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Timp’s research integrates the principles of biophysics, molecular biology and computational biology to create new tools for exploring the epigenomes and genomes of different lifeforms ranging in size from the flu virus to hummingbirds to California redwoods. Based on the knowledge gained from these studies, Timp and his team apply their toolsets to clinical samples for the diagnosis, surveillance, and treatment of human disease.

Recent projects range from using nanopore sequencing to diagnose infectious disease, characterizing the epigenome of colon cancer, reading the transcriptome of the hummingbird, and assembling the genome of the giant sequoia. Timp holds two licensed patents for his work and was awarded a $2 million grant in 2017 and another $3 million grant in 2019 as part of the “Novel Nucleic Acid Sequencing Technology Development” project funded through the National Human Genome Research Institute. He is also part of a Human Frontier Science Program grant on the extreme metabolism of hummingbirds and a National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) consortium grant on Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell genomics and epigenomics.

Timp is a member of the Biophysical Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Society of Genetics, and sits on the editorial board for Epigenetic Insights and is a bioRxiv Affiliate. He was part of cross-divisional teams that won Johns Hopkins Discovery Awards in 2017 for a project resolving transcriptome architecture using single molecule direct RNA sequencing, in 2016 for exploring the “essentialome” of the Candida glabrata organism, and in 2015 for a project using sequencing-based transcription factor binding quantification for synthetic biology. He also received a Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award in 2016 for his work in nanopore sequencing.

Timp received bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry, chemistry, physics and electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 2001 and 2002. He then earned his master’s degree and PhD in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked at the Whitehead Institute, focusing his thesis work on the study of cellular communication in a 3-D microenvironment. After receiving his doctorate, Timp trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins, studying the epigenetics of cancer. He joined the faculty of the Whiting School of Engineering in 2013.

Selected Publications

From Pub Med   |   Google Scholar Profile

Publications Search

Timp W, Feinberg AP. Cancer as a dysregulated epigenome allowing cellular growth advantage at the expense of the host. Nature Reviews Cancer. 2013 Jul;13(7):497–510.

Kurz V, Nelson EM, Perry N, Timp W, Timp G. Epigenetic Memory Emerging from Integrated Transcription Bursts. Biophysical Journal. 2013 Sep 17;105(6):1526–1532.

Nelson, E.M., V. Kurz, J. Shim, W. Timp, G. Timp. 2012. Using a Nanopore for Single Molecule Detection and Single Cell Transfection. The Analyst 137: 3020–3027. doi:10.1039/C2AN35571J.

Timp, W., J. Comer, A. Aksimentiev. 2012. DNA Base-calling via nanopore sequencing using a Viterbi algorithm. Biophysical Journal 102, L37–L39.

McDonald, O. G., H. Wu, W. Timp, A. Doi, and A. P. Feinberg. 2011. Genome-scale epigenetic reprogramming during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 18 (8):867–74.

Hansen, K. D., W. Timp, H. C. Bravo, S. Sabunciyan, B. Langmead, O. G. McDonald, B. Wen, H. Wu, Y. Liu, D. Diep, E. Briem, K. Zhang, R. A. Irizarry, and A. P. Feinberg. 2011. Increased methylation variation in epigenetic domains across cancer types. Nature Genetics 43 (8):768–75.

Timp, W., U. M. Mirsaidov, Deqiang Wang, J. Comer, A. Aksimentiev, and G. Timp. 2010. Nanopore Sequencing: Electrical Measurements of the Code of Life. Nanotechnology, IEEE Transactions on 9 (3):281–294.

Mirsaidov, U., W. Timp, X. Zou, V. Dimitrov, K. Schulten, A. P. Feinberg, and G. Timp. 2009. Nanoelectromechanics of Methylated DNA in a Synthetic Nanopore. Biophysical Journal 96 (4):L32–L34.