Anastasia-Maria Zavitsanou, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Columbia University
Anastasia-Maria Zavitsanou headshot

Anastasia-Maria Zavitsanou is a postdoctoral research scientist in the laboratory of Dr. Ishmail Abdus-Saboor in the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University. She holds a B.Sc. in biochemistry from Imperial College in London and a Ph.D. in immunology from NYU School of Medicine.

As a doctoral student, she studied how tumor intrinsic mutations in lung adenocarcinoma alter anti-tumor immunity and impact responses to immunotherapy. Her work revealed that lung tumors with hyperactive antioxidant pathway suppress the DC-T cell anti-tumor axis and uncovered a novel treatment regimen to sensitize recalcitrant lung cancers to immunotherapy. Throughout her Ph.D., she was intrigued by the finding that cancer patients experience symptoms such as pain, anorexia, sleep and mood alterations. For her postdoctoral training, she switched to neuroscience to investigate how cancer alters behavior via regulating the body’s internal sensory system. Using mouse models of lung cancer, systems neuroscience approaches and computational tools for behavioral quantification, Zavitsanou will investigate how signals from the tumor microenvironment alter periphery-to-brain circuits to drive cancer-induced visceral pain.

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