Leadership for New Interdisciplinary Center at VP&S

Dear Colleagues,

Team science has never been more important to the future of health care, and today we are pleased to announce a new interdisciplinary center grounded in the VP&S Department of Radiology. The center will bring together Radiology, the VP&S Department of Biomedical Informatics, the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC), and other collaborators within NewYork-Presbyterian and CUIMC to leverage tools with potential to transform the treatment and prevention of cancer and other diseases.

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, Despina Kontos, PhD, currently at the University of Pennsylvania, will join VP&S as director of the new Center for Innovation in Imaging Biomarkers and Integrated Diagnostics (CIMBID) and vice chair of artificial intelligence and data science research in the Department of Radiology. She will be a member of HICCC and have secondary appointments in biomedical informatics at VP&S and biomedical engineering in Columbia’s engineering school. She also will be director of biomarker imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian.

CIMBID will be dedicated to developing and integrating quantitative imaging and non-imaging biomarkers for disease prediction, particularly in cancer. Under Dr. Kontos’ leadership, the center will develop initiatives in collaboration with multiple areas at Columbia, including biomedical informatics, bioengineering, systems biology, the Mailman School of Public Health, and HICCC. The research and clinical initiatives will share a common goal of using new approaches to understand the behavior of disease then translate the findings to patient care.

Dr. Kontos is the Matthew J. Wilson Professor of Research Radiology II at Penn, where she is also associate vice chair for research in the Department of Radiology. Born in New York to immigrant parents, she studied engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Patras in Greece. She received her PhD in computer and information sciences from Temple University in Philadelphia, followed by postdoc training in radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has certificates in biostatistics and epidemiology from Penn and cancer biology and targeted therapeutics from Harvard. She has made seminal contributions in leveraging artificial intelligence tools for risk prediction in breast and lung cancer. Her most recent research interest is in using data science to integrate imaging biomarkers with non-imaging data, such as electronic health record data, genetics, histopathology, and genomic data, into precision diagnostics.

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Kontos to Columbia in early 2024. Until then, please give some thought to how you can participate in this new center.


Katrina Armstrong, MD
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, Columbia University

Diego Jaramillo, MD, MPH
Interim Chair, Department of Radiology
Professor of Radiology

Noémie Elhadad, PhD
Chair, Department of Biomedical Informatics
Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics

Anil Rustgi, MD
Director, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer CenterHerbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine