A new interdisciplinary platform, called AstroPath, makes use of sky-mapping algorithms with advanced immunofluorescence imaging of cancer biopsies. Researchers at The Mark Foundation Center for Advanced Genomics and Imaging from the Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science (IDIES) at Johns Hopkins University, and the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy have developed a robust platform to guide specific immunotherapeutic regimens by predicting which cancers are most likely respond to treatment.

Cancers may express molecules or recruit cells that can potentiate and/or interfere with an immune response against the tumor. Most of these molecules have been studied as single factors. What is needed now is a way to understand how these factors act in concert during tumor development and progression, as well as how they change when a patient is receiving treatment. 

Our Team

Director, Division of Dermatopathology
Professor of Dermatology

Dr. Taube is a pathologist, and she is one of the two PIs for AstroPath. She has developed and validated an approach for pinpointing ~40 immunoactive molecules across large areas of tumor tissue specimens. These maps are imaged using the AstroPath platform and linked through the database to other available data on the specimens and patients, including DNA and RNA-based studies, radiologic images, and clinical data such as treatments received and patient outcomes.

Alex Szalay
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Director of IDIES

Dr. Szalay is the other PI of the team and is an astrophysicist who led the effort to build a large, open-access, spatially-resolved data portal for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Based upon the lessons learned over 25 years working on the SDSS SkyServer, Dr. Szalay has architected a data-management and analysis environment to process, host and visualize the large-scale tumor-immune maps that are being generated by Dr. Taube’s laboratory. Analyses of the detailed spatial features over hundreds of millions of cells in the tumor microenvironment enable the discovery of rare phenomena at a high statistical significance.

Taube Lab Members

Liz Engle, MS

Benjamin Green

Andrew Jorquera

Haiying Xu

Aleksandra Ogurtsova

Sigfredo Soto-Diaz

Joel Sunshine

Julie Stein, MD

Libby Will, MD 

Cottrell Lab

Tricia Cottrell, MD, PhD

Astronomy/Data Science

Alex Szalay, PhD

Richard Wilton, MD

Margaret Eminizer, PhD

Jeffrey Roskes, PhD

Dmitry Medvedev

Joshua Doyle, MD

AI/ML Collaborators

Alan Yuille, PhD

Seyoun Park, PhD

Yixiao Zhang

BKI Collaborators​

Drew Pardoll, MD, PhD

Robert Anders MD, PhD

Suzanne Topalian, MD

Evan Lipson, MD

Luda Danilova, PhD

Leslie Cope, PhD

AstroPath Alumni

Nicholas Giraldo, MD, PhD

Peter Nguyen, MS

Charles Roberts, MS

Jose Loyola

Sahil Hamal

Akoya Collaborators

Cliff Hoyt, MS

Sneha Berry, PhD

Daphne Wang, MS

TME Core

AstroPath assay development and associated slide scanning technologies are now available through the Johns Hopkins Tumor Microenvironment (TME) Core, managed by Liz Engle (

AstroPath is a collaboration between​
Sponsored Research Funding Agencies
Industry Supporters

Posts about Astropath

2022 Benjamin Castleman Awards
Dr. Nicolas Giraldo Awarded 2022 USCAP Benjamin Castleman Award

AstroPath team member emeritus Dr. Nicolas Giraldo-Castillo was just awarded the 2022 Benjamin Castleman Award by the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) for his previous work on Astropath with Dr. Taube. The award is granted for an outstanding paper in the field of pathology published during the preceding year.

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Janis Taube and Alexander Szalay. Credit: Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
Alexander Szalay, Ph.D. and Janis Taube, M.D., M.Sc., receive Life Sciences 2021 award for AstroPath at Falling Walls Science Summit

“The Johns Hopkins submission titled “Breaking the Wall to Mapping Cancer Using Multispectral Microscopy” was selected from hundreds of entries for the AstroPath platform design. AstroPath is a new, comprehensive platform for imaging and mapping microscopic sections of tumors to identify and validate predictive biomarkers to guide precision immunotherapies for cancer.”

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2022 Benjamin Castleman Awards
Dr. Giraldo-Castillo accepts his award | Photo Credit: Ashley Cimino-Mathews

AstroPath is proud to be selected as a winner of the Falling Walls award for Life Sciences! #ScienceReuintesUs

Falling Walls is an international science platform that asks, “Which are the next walls to fall in science and society?” The organization sponsors an annual conference in Berlin each November.

The Falling Walls international prize jury recognized AstroPath for its unique contribution to global cancer research. AstroPath was selected as one of ten winners for 2021. 

Congratulations to Janis Taube and Alex Szalay, their teams, and the other recipients of this prestigious award.

AstroPath in the News

Select Publications

Reaching for the stars: combining astronomy and pathology to map cancer biomarkers

Taube & Szalay (2021). Immuno-Oncology Insights, 2(5), 247-256.

September 27, 2021

Analysis of multispectral imaging with the AstroPath platform informs efficacy of PD-1 blockade

Science, June 11, 2021     Abstract     Reprint      Full text

Mapping cancer as if it were the universe

The Economist, April 24, 2021