Research Menu
Alexander Krasnitz

Alexander Krasnitz

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, 1990

krasnitz@cshl.edu | (516) 367-6863 (p)

Many types of cancer display bewildering intra-tumor heterogeneity on a cellular and molecular level, with aggressive malignant cell populations found alongside normal tissue and infiltrating immune cells. I am developing mathematical and statistical tools to disentangle tumor cell population structure, enabling an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of the disease and better-informed clinical decisions.

Alexander Krasnitz and colleagues develop mathematical and statistical tools to investigate population structure of cells comprising a malignant tumor and to reconstruct evolutionary processes leading up to that structure. These tools are designed to make optimal use of emerging molecular technologies, chief among them high-throughput genomic profiling of multiple individual cells harvested from a tumor. By analyzing these profiles, Krasnitz derives novel molecular measures of malignancy, such as the number of aggressive clones in a tumor, the invasive capacity of each clone and the amount of cancer-related genetic alteration sustained by clonal cells. Krasnitz and colleagues collaborate closely with clinical oncologists to explore the utility of such measures for earlier detection of cancer, more accurate patient outcome prediction and risk assessment, and better-informed choice of treatment options.

    New method to determine <em>before</em> surgery which prostate tumors pose a lethal threat

    New method to determine before surgery which prostate tumors pose a lethal threat

    December 1, 2017

    Prostate cancer is common and largely nonlethal. But for some 21,000 men—a small percentage of the total, but a nonetheless substantial number—the disease is fatal. For earlier and more accurate detection, the Krasnitz and Wigler labs have devised a new method to analyze tumor biopsies to identify the most lethal forms of prostate cancer.


    Next-gen cancer test

    Next-gen cancer test

    November 24, 2017

    Knowing that cancers become lethal when they spread, investigators at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) seek a way of detecting tumors much earlier than now possible—when they’re more likely to be curable. Fleshing out an idea Professor Michael Wigler had years ago—before there was technology to act on it—research led by Associate Professor Alexander Krasnitz...


    Breaking down breast cancer at CSHL

    Breaking down breast cancer at CSHL

    October 30, 2015

    LabDish blog Breast cancer awareness is important, but it’s action that saves lives. Whether developing more accurate and affordable tests for patients or mapping out the treacherous landscape of breast cancer genetics, researchers at CSHL certainly aren’t putting the fight on pause even as the pink ribbons dissipate. Explore how they’re attacking breast cancer from...


    Mathematical technique de-clutters cancer-cell data, revealing tumor evolution, treatment leads

    Mathematical technique de-clutters cancer-cell data, revealing tumor evolution, treatment leads

    June 5, 2013

    Michael Wigler, in collaboration with Alexander Krasnitz, James Hicks and Scott Powers, used a new computational method called CORES to propose an alternative to the “two-hit” hypothesis to explain how cancers arise.


    With new method, CSHL team is able to infer how tumors evolve and spread

    With new method, CSHL team is able to infer how tumors evolve and spread

    March 11, 2011

    Study of two breast cancer samples suggests tumors grow by ‘punctuated, clonal expansions’ Cold Spring Harbor, NY — A new method of analyzing cancerous tumors developed by scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) suggests that tumors may not evolve gradually, but rather in punctuated or staccato-like bursts.  It is a finding that has already...


    Three studies by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists appear in the latest issue of <em>Cell</em>

    Three studies by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists appear in the latest issue of Cell

    November 26, 2008

    Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Three separate research teams, each led by faculty at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), report results in the journal Cell on Nov. 26. It is unusual for multiple, unrelated studies emanating from the same institution to appear in a single issue of the prestigious journal, which typically publishes 10 to...


    Science teams at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory identify 13 new tumor-suppressor genes in liver cancer

    Science teams at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory identify 13 new tumor-suppressor genes in liver cancer

    November 17, 2008

    A powerful new approach to validate linkages between suspect genes and their functional contributions to cancer Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Over the years, hunting for cancer-related genes and understanding how they work has been an important, although time-consuming, exercise. At Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), five different research groups have now combined their expertise...


Alexander, J. and Kendall, J. and McIndoo, J. and Rodgers, L. and Aboukhalil, R. and Levy, D. and Stepansky, A. and Sun, G. and Chobadjiev, L. and Riggs, M. and Cox, H. and Hakker, I. and Nowak, D. G. and Laze, J. and Llukani, E. and Srivastava, A. and Gruschow, S. and Yadav, S. S. and Robinson, B. D. and Atwal, G. and Trotman, L. C. and Lepor, H. and Hicks, J. B. and Wigler, M. and Krasnitz, A. (2018) Utility of single cell genomics in diagnostic evaluation of prostate cancer. Cancer Res, 78(2) pp. 348-358.

Krasnitz, Alexander and Kendall, Jude and Alexander, Joan and Levy, Dan and Wigler, Michael (2017) Early Detection of Cancer in Blood Using Single-Cell Analysis: A Proposal. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 23(7) pp. 594-603.

Krasnitz, A. and Sun, G. and Andrews, P. and Wigler, M. (2013) Target inference from collections of genomic intervals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(25) pp. E2271-E2278.

Navin, N. E. and Krasnitz, A. and Rodgers, L. and Cook, K. and Meth, J. L. and Kendall, J. T. and Riggs, M. and Eberling, Y. and Troge, J. E. and Grubor, V. and Levy, D. and Lundin, P. and Månér, S. and Zetterberg, A. and Hicks, J. B. and Wigler, M. H. (2010) Inferring tumor progression from genomic heterogeneity. Genome Research, 20(1) pp. 68-80.

Hicks, J. B. and Krasnitz, A. and Lakshmi, B. and Navin, N. E. and Riggs, M. and Leibu, E. and Esposito, D. and Alexander, J. and Troge, J. E. and Grubor, V. and Yoon, S. and Wigler, M. H. and Ye, K. and Borresen-Dale, A. L. and Naume, B. and Schlicting, E. and Norton, L. and Hagerstrom, T. and Skoog, L. and Auer, G. and Månér, S. and Lundin, P. and Zetterberg, A. (2006) Novel patterns of genome rearrangement and their association with survival in breast cancer. Genome Research, 16(12) pp. 1465-79.

Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository