Dimitris Anastassiou


Mail Code 4721 

Tel(212) 854-3113
Fax(212) 932-9421

Dimitris Anastassiou analyzes data coming from biopsies of numerous cancer patients to identify patterns shedding light on biological mechanisms for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in personalized medicine. His team has developed winning computational models in several related international challenges, including one for breast cancer prognosis

Research Interests

Computational systems biology. Mining of biomolecular data sets.

Some of these biomolecular data mining techniques identify signatures of mutually associated features pointing to the core of the underlying mechanism. Several among these signatures (“attractor metagenes”) were found to be nearly identical in multiple cancer types, suggesting that they represent biomolecular events of cancer in general. One of his recent research topics focuses on analyzing single-cell gene expression data to scrutinize tumor heterogeneity and rare cell subpopulations, such as particular types of cancer stem cells that could result in increased resistance to therapy, and understanding the underlying regulatory mechanisms and their potential inhibition, to be validated experimentally. Such analysis has the potential to identify mechanisms by which the presence of malignant cells results in the recruitment of particular immune cell types activated in various ways, with applications in selecting optimum cancer immunotherapy. In addition to cancer, he is working on data mining of biomolecular datasets from other diseases, such as psychiatric disorders. His previous research was in the area of video technology. He is author of patents accepted as essential for the implementation of several international standards, such as MPEG-2, used in digital television transmission.

He received a B.S. from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, followed by an M.S. and a Ph.D. (1979) in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.   He is an IEEE Fellow, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the recipient of an IBM Outstanding Innovation Award, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, and a Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. 


  • Charles Batchelor Professor of Electrical Engineering, Columbia University, 2011–
  • Professor of electrical engineering, Columbia University, 1992-
  • Acting chairman, dept. of electrical engineering, Columbia University, Sept.-Dec. 1999
  • Associate professor of electrical engineering, Columbia University, 1985–1992
  • Assistant professor of electrical engineering, Columbia University, 1983–1985
  • Research Staff Member, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, 1978-1983


  • International Society for Computational Biology
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


  • Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, 2014
  • Great Teacher Award, Society of Columbia Graduates, Columbia University, 2001
  • IEEE Fellow, 1998
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1986-1991
  • IBM Invention Achievement Award, 1983
  • IBM Outstanding Innovation Award, 1982


  • Member, NIH Center for Cancer Systems Therapeutics (CaST)


  • W.Y. Cheng, T.H. Ou Yang and D. Anastassiou, “Development of a prognostic model for breast cancer survival in an open challenge environment,” Science Translational Medicine, Vol. 5, Issue 181, p. 181ra50 (2013).
  • T.S. Ou Yang, W.Y. Cheng, T. Zheng, M.A. Maurer and D. Anastassiou, “Breast Cancer Prognostic Biomarker Using Attractor Metagenes and the FGD3-SUSD3 Metagene,” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Vol. 23, Issue 12, pp. 2850-6 (2014).
  • A. Elmas, T.H Ou Yang, X. Wang and D. Anastassiou, “Discovering Genome-Wide Tag SNPs Based on the Mutual Information of the Variants,” PLOS ONE, Vol. 11, Issue 12, e0167994 (2016).
  • W.Y. Cheng, T.H. Ou Yang and D. Anastassiou, “Biomolecular events in cancer revealed by attractor metagenes,” PLOS Computational Biology, Vol. 9, Issue 2 (2013).
  • W.Y. Cheng, J.J. Kandel, D.J. Yamashiro, P. Canoll and D. Anastassiou, “A multi-cancer mesenchymal transition gene expression signature is associated with prolonged time to recurrence in glioblastoma,” PLOS ONE, Vol. 7, Issue 4 (2012).
  • Y.H. Cheung, J. Watkinson and D. Anastassiou, “Conditional meta-analysis stratifying on detailed HLA genotypes identifies a novel type 1 diabetes locus around TCF19 in the MHC,” Human Genetics, Vol. 129, No. 2, pp. 161-176 (2011).
  • K.C. Liang, X. Wang and D. Anastassiou, “A Profile-Based Deterministic Sequential Monte Carlo Algorithm for Motif Discovery,” Bioinformatics, Vol. 24, Issue 1, pp. 46-55 (2008).
  • D. Anastassiou, “Computational Analysis of the Synergy among Multiple Interacting Genes” (Review Article), Molecular Systems Biology, Vol. 3, No. 83 (2007).
  • D. Anastassiou, H. Liu and V. Varadan, “Variable Window Binding for Mutually Exclusive Alternative Splicing,” Genome Biology, Vol. 7, Issue 1, pp. R2.1-R2.12 (2006).
  • D. Anastassiou, “Genomic Signal Processing,” IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, theme article, Vol. 18, No 4, pp. 8-20, (2001).