Biomedical Informatics: Discovery and Impact

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  • Andrea Califano, PhD
  • Andrea Califano
    Professor of Systems Biology (in Biomedical Informatics and the institute for Cancer Genetics)
    Chief, Division of Biomedical Informatics
    Director, Columbia Initiative in Systems Biology
    Director, Center for the Multiscale Analysis of Genomic Networks
    Assoc. Dir. for Bioinformatics, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center

    Reverse engineering and validation of regulatory networks, especially in cancer

  • Background
  • Dr. Califano's doctoral thesis in physics, at the University of Florence, was on the behavior of high-dimensional dynamical systems . From 1986 to 1990, as a Research Staff Member in the Exploratory Computer Vision Group at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center he worked on several algorithms for machine learning, more specifically for the interpretation of 2D and 3D visual scenes.

    In 1990 Dr. Califano started his activities in Computational Biology and, in 1997, became the program director of the IBM Computational Biology Center, a worldwide organization active in several research areas related to bioinformatics, chemoinformatics, complex biological system modeling/simulation, microarray analysis, protein structure prediction, and molecular-dynamics.

    In 2000 he co-founded First Genetic Trust, Inc. to actively pursue translational genomics research and infrastructure related activities in the context of large-scale patient studies with a genetic components.

    Finally, in 2003, he joined Columbia University as Professor of Biomedical Informatics, with appointments in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and in the Institute for Cancer Genetics.

    Dr. Califano currently serves as a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute.

    Dr. Califano's interests are broadly defined within the field of Systems Biology, with specific application to human malignancies. In particular his lab has spearheaded early efforts to assemble genome-wide, context-specific maps of molecular interactions in human cells, by integrating several reverse engineering approaches. These maps have shown significant promise in the rational elucidation of both physiological and pathological phenotypes. Over the last few years, his lab has assembled biochemically validated, genome-wide map of transcriptional and post-transcriptional interaction in several human cell contexts, including B cell, Breast Carcinoma, Glioma, and normal and tumor-related Stem Cells. These maps are being extensively used for the unbiased dissection of dysregulated pathways in related human malignancies. The Califano lab integrates the development of analytical methodologies with high-throughput experimental assays necessary for data generation and biochemical/biological validation.
  • Research Interests
  • The Califano lab is interested in a variety of themes at the interface between the computational and the experimental biological sciences, including:

    * The reverse engineering and biochemical validation of gene regulatory and signaling networks in mammalian cellular contexts.
    * The study of genetic regulatory modules that are disregulated in lymphoid malignancies and other human malignancies, using a systems biology approach.
    * The dissection of regulatory networks necessary for pluripotency and lineage specific differentiation of human Stem Cells.
    * The application of systems biology methods to the dissection of normal and pathologic phenotypes.
    * The identification of cis-regulatory elements and modules in the non-coding genome of higher eukaryotes.