Timothy McCaffrey Timothy McCaffrey
Professor of Medicine
Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine (Secondary)

Office Phone: (202)994-8919
Email: Email
Department: Medicine


  • BA, St Mary's U, San Antonio, 1979
  • MS, Purdue University, 1983
  • PhD, Purdue University, 1985


2010-Present        Professor of Medicine, Director, Division of Genomic Medicine, GWU

2006-present        Board Member, The Cheney Cardiovascular Institute

2005-2010            Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, GWU Medical Center

2004-2010             Vice-Chair, Research and Administration, Biochemistry, GWU

2004-2010             Director, The Catherine Birch McCormick Center, GWU

2001-2005             Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, GWU

2000-2001             Founder and Director, Genomics Core Facility, Cornell Medical School

1994-2001             Associate Research Professor of Cell Biology in Medicine, Cornell Medical College

1989-1994             Assistant Professor of Cell Biology in Medicine, Cornell Medical College

1987-1989             Instructor of Cell Biology in Medicine, Cornell Medical College

1985-1987             Research Associate, Department of Medicine, Cornell University Medical College

1981-1985             Teaching Assistant, Department of Psychology, Purdue University

1979-1980             Assistant Research Scientist, Cardiopulmonary Division, Southwest Foundation.


Diagnosis and Prediction of Cardiovascular Diseases by Genomic Technologies
            Cardiovascular diseases, particularly atherosclerosis, are the major cause of death and morbidity in developed countries.  Atherosclerosis can lead to an acute myocardial infarction (MI), or heart attack, with an incidence of approximately 650,000 per year in the U.S. alone.  The current gold standard for diagnosing coronary artery disease (CAD) is coronary artery angiography.  Surprisingly, despite some well-established clinical and diagnostic criteria, about 30-40% of the 1 million diagnostic catheterizations each year in the U.S. return a result of ‘no coronary blockage’.
            Using the most advanced SeqLL single molecule sequencing (SMS) of RNA (RNAseq, aka ‘deep or next-gen sequencing’) to identify transcripts associated with CAD (TRACs), we have identified more than 200 transcripts that differed significantly between groups were identified.  Careful analysis and confirmatory studies strongly suggest that these TRACs are RNA markers of subset of T cells, consistent with numerous prior publications suggesting changes in the T cell ratios in CAD.
            These studies potentially provide a clinic-ready diagnostic test for the presence of CAD in chest pain patients. In the future, this test could be expanded toward diagnosing CAD in asymptomatic patients, which could potentially prevent unexpected MI and provide physicians the chance for early intervention, with simple, proven therapies such as aspirin, statins, and lifestyle changes.
Acute Appendicitis: Transcript Profiling of Blood Identifies Promising Biomarkers and Potential Underlying Processes
            The diagnosis of acute appendicitis can be surprisingly difficult without computed tomography, which carries significant radiation exposure.  Genome-wide expression profiling was applied to whole blood RNA of acute appendicitis patients versus patients with other abdominal disorders, in order to identify biomarkers of appendicitis.  From a large cohort of emergency patients, a discovery set of patients with surgically confirmed appendicitis, or abdominal pain from other causes, was identified.  RNA from whole blood was profiled by microarrays, and a combined fold-change (>2) and p value (<0.05) filter was applied.  A separate set of patients, including patients with respiratory infections, was used to validate a partial least squares discriminant (PLSD) prediction model. 
            Transcript profiling identified 37 differentially expressed genes (DEG) in appendicitis versus abdominal pain patients.  The DEG list contained 3 major ontologies: infection-related, inflammation-related, and ribosomal processing.  A PLSD model was 100% sensitive and specific internally, and was 89% sensitive and 75% specific when applied to an independent validation set.  Infection-related transcripts were lower in appendicitis patients than in other abdominal pain patients, or patients with respiratory infections.  Thus, appendicitis patients show readily detectable changes in blood RNA profiles, which may provide a clinically useful diagnostic test.  The relative absence of infection-related transcripts suggest that appendicitis patient’s immune cells are not directly contacting pathogens, but are primed by diffusible factors from the infection site. The detected biomarkers are consistent with prior evidence that biofilm-forming bacteria in the appendix may be an important factor in appendicitis.

For more information, please visit the McCaffrey Lab website


Concordant Integrative Analysis of Multiple Gene Expression Data Sets
NIH 1 RO1 GM092963-01                                                        PI: Linglei Lai, Ph.D.

Analysis of Aspirin-Insensitive Thrombophilia by RNAseq of Blood.
US-China Collaboration via Chinese Ministry of Health
Next Generation Sequencing-based diagnosis of coronary artery disease
The GW/MFA Collaborative Grant Fund                                  PI: McCaffrey/Katz
Genomic Analysis of Respiratory Pathogens
CTSI-CN Pilot Grant Program                                       PI: Siegel/Simon
Total Award Amount: $40,000


Executive Editor, Gene (Journal)
Editorial Board, Advances in Genetics and Genomics
Washington DC Academy of Medicine
Personalized Medicine Coalition, Charter Member
American Heart Association
MERIT Award (National Institutes on Aging)
Jackson Friedman Young Investigator Award


Course Director, MICR 236, Fundamentals of Genomics (2002-present)
Course Director, GNMX 201, Personalized Genomics, (2011-present)
Lecturer, PubH 290.35 Molecular Epidemiology (2008-2012)
Lecturer, BMSC 213 (2002-2012)
Lecturer, BIOC 210/211 (2002-2012)
Section Director, BMSC 213, Molecular Medicine (2002-2009)
Lecturer, BIOC 254, (2002-2010)
Lecturer, BIOC 250, Advanced Topics in Molecular Biology (2003)
Lecturer, CS 177 Introduction to Bioinformatics, (2004-2006)
Section Director, Medical Biochemistry for Medical Students, Genetics (2005)

Centers and Institutes

GW Heart and Vascular Institute

GW Katzen Cancer Center, Research Committee

GW Institute of Biomedical Sciences

Former Director, McCormick Genomics Center

Rare Genomics Institute

Community Service

2013                      Executive Editor, Gene (Journal)

2011-2012             Editorial Review Board, Gene (Journal)

2005-present        Washington DC Academy of Medicine

2003-present        Personalized Medicine Coalition, Charter Member


  • Clinical and Translational Research


  • Genomic Medicine

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • True Bearing Diagnostics, LLC