Dennis Vitkup

Dennis Vitkup


Associate Professor, Department of Systems Biology


Department of Systems Biology
Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Center for Cancer Systems Therapeutics
Department of Biomedical Informatics


(212) 851-5151

Dennis Vitkup is an associate professor in the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and the Department of Biomedical Informatics. His laboratory develops and applies novel probabilistic techniques to analyze cellular networks. Their work involves developing methods that connect network structure to function to phenotypes, and can be used to make experimentally verifiable predictions. Research in the Vitkup Lab focuses on three main topics: 1) the global probabilistic reconstruction and analysis of metabolic networks based on completely sequenced genomes, 2) the development of methods to identify new human disease genes and genetic disease modules using probabilistic functional networks, and 3) the development of methods to combine mechanistic and probabilistic approaches for the dynamic simulation of biological pathways. The Vitkup Lab developed GLOBUS, a global probabilistic method for reconstructing cellular metabolic networks, and applied it to design new drugs for malaria and understand cancer metabolism. They also created NETBAG, a novel method for considering genetic mutations in the context of molecular networks, and used it to identify networks that are perturbed in autism and schizophrenia.

More News


Grad Spotlight: Brian Ji, PhD
For Brian Ji, the big draw to systems biology stemmed from his passion for applying quantitative approaches to understanding biology. Ji studied under Dr. Dennis Vitkup in the Vitkup lab and completed his thesis defense for systems biology in the fall of 2018. Also an MD student in Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ji was attracted to Columbia because of the close interplay between the Systems Biology Department and the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Ultimately,” he says, “the opportunity to sit at the intersection between math, biology and medicine was too good to pass up.”
PhD Candidate Brian Ji Wins for Outstanding Research at Integrated Conference
Brian Ji, an MD/PhD student in systems biology and a member of the Vitkup Lab, delivered the winning talk at the Biennial Integrated Program Retreat. Ji, who discussed a novel experimental and computational method to understand spatiotemporal dynamics of the human gut microbiome, was one of six systems biology students who delivered research presentations at the conference.
Columbia Awarded NCI Center for Cancer Systems Biology
The Center for Cancer Systems Therapeutics (CaST) is developing a framework that can account for the dynamic nature of cancer and use this knowledge to disrupt the programs that maintain tumor survival.
Tracing Bacterial Evolution Across Billions of Years
Using simulations of metabolism as a kind of microscope, Dennis Vitkup and Germán Plata have identified patterns in how bacteria adapt and diversify at the phenotypic level, an important issue in evolutionary biology.
Diverse Autism Mutations Lead to Different Disease Outcomes
People with autism exhibit a wide range of symptoms. Now a large-scale analysis of hundreds of patients has started to uncover how diversity among traits can be traced to differences in patients’ genetic mutations.