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W. Ian Lipkin

John Snow Professor of Epidemiology

Professor of Neurology and Pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Scientific Director of Joint Research Laboratory for Pathogen Discovery,, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Director, Center for Infection and Immunity

W. Ian Lipkin, MD, is internationally recognized as an authority on the use of molecular methods for pathogen discovery. Dr. Lipkin has over 30 years of experience in diagnostics, microbial discovery and outbreak response, has mentored and trained more than 30 students and post-doctoral fellows and leads a team of over 65 investigators, post-doctoral fellows and research and support staff in New York City and another 150 across the world. In the 1980s, Dr. Lipkin identified AIDS-associated immunological abnormalities and inflammatory neuropathy, which he showed could be treated with plasmapheresis, and demonstrated that early life exposure to viral infections affects neurotransmitter function. He was the first to use purely molecular methods to identify an infectious agent, developed MassTag PCR and GreeneChip technology and pioneered the use of high throughput sequencing in pathogen discovery. He and his team implicated West Nile virus as the cause of the encephalitis epidemic in New York in 1999 and have discovered or characterized more than 500 infectious agents including Borna disease virus, West Nile virus, LuJo virus and human rhinovirus C. Dr. Lipkin assisted the WHO and the Peoples Republic of China during the 2003 SARS outbreak and currently advises the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in addressing the challenge of MERS. He also directs large programs focused on autism and chronic fatigue syndrome wherein gene-environment interactions such as infection and intoxication are postulated to cause disease. Dr. Lipkin has been featured by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Discover Magazine, Nature Medicine, the History Channel, National Geographic, CNN, Fox, National Public Radio, Wired, and the Huffington Post. He was the chief scientific consultant for the Soderbergh film “Contagion” and is working on a new series for AMC.

Photo courtesy: Columbia Technology Ventures: http://www.techventures.columbia.edu/
Education & Training:

    MD, 1978, Rush University

    BA, 1974, Sarah Lawrence College


Mailman School Affiliations:

    Additional Affiliations:

    • Dalldorf Affiliated Research Physician, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health
    • NIH Blue Ribbon Panel for the Risk Assessment of the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center
    • NIAID Blue Ribbon Panel on Genomics Research
    • NIH Blue Ribbon Panel for the Risk Assessment of the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center
    Honors and Awards:
    • Fellow, New York Academy of Sciences
    • Pew Scholar, 1991
    • Foundation Lecturer, American Society of Microbiology, 2001-2003
    • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
    • Member, Association of American Physicians
    • Selected Editorial Boards

      • mBio 1
    New York City
      NIH (NIAID) Northeast Biodefense Center Project URL: http://www.nbc.columbia.edu

      Dr. Lipkin is scientific director of the Northeast Biodefense Center, a Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases comprising all academic, research, and public health institutions in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

      Gene: Environment Interactions in an Autism Birth Cohort Project URL: http://www.abc.columbia.edu

      Dr. Lipkin is principal investigator of a prospective birth cohort of 100,000 women, their children and partners focused on determining the epidemiology, natural trajectory of disease, and pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders.
      Countries: Norway

      World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Diagnostics in Zoonotic and Emerging Infectious Diseases

      Countries: World

    Selected Publications:
    • Lipkin WI, Travis GH, Carbone KM, Wilson MC Isolation and characterization of Borna disease agent cDNA clones Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 87 4184-4188 1990
    • Lipkin WI, Travis GH, Carbone KM, Wilson MC (1990) Isolation and characterization of Borna disease agent cDNA clones. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 87: 4184.
    • Hornig M, Weissenböck H, Horscroft N, Lipkin WI An infection-based model of neurodevelopmental damage Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 96 12102-12107 1999
    • Briese T, Jia X-J, Huang C, Grady LJ, Lipkin WI (1999) Identification of a Kunjin/West Nile-like flavivirus in brains of New York encephalitis patients. Lancet, 354: 1261.
    • Jia X-Y, Briese T, Jordan I, Rambaut A, Chi HC, Mackenzie JS, Hall RA, Scherret J, Lipkin WI Genetic analysis of the West Nile New York 1999 encephalitis virus Lancet 354 1971-1972 1999
    • Hoffman KL, Hornig M, Yaddanapudi K, Jabado O, Lipkin WI A murine model for neuropsychiatric disorders associated with group A β-hemolytic streptococcal infection J Neurosci 24 1780-1791 2004
    • Briese T, Palacios G, Kokoris M, Jabado O, Liu Z, Renwick N, Kapoor V, Casas I, Pozo F, Limberger R, Perez-Brena P, Ju J, Lipkin Diagnostic system for rapid and sensitive differential detection of pathogens Emerg Infect Dis 11 310-313 2005
    • Lamson D, Renwick N, Kapoor V, Liu Z, Palacios G, Ju J, Dean A, St. George K, Briese T, Lipkin WI MassTag polymerase-chain-reaction detection of respiratory pathogens, including a new rhinovirus genotype, causing influenza-like illness in New York State, 2004-2005 J Infectious Dis 15 1398 2006
    • Yaddanapudi K, Palacios G, Towner JS, Nichol ST, Sariol C, Lipkin WI Implication of a retrovirus-like glycoprotein peptide in the immunopathogenesis of Ebola and Marburg viruses FASEB 20 2519 2006
    • Palacios G, Quan P-L, Jabado OJ, Conlaan S, Hirschberg DL, Liu Y, Zhai J, Renwick N, Hui J, Hegyi H, Grolla A, Strong JE, Towner JS, Geisbert TW, Jahrling PB, Büchen-Osmond C, Ellerbrok H, Sanchez-Sec Panmicrobial oligonucleotide array for diagnosis of infectious diseases. Emerg Infect Dis In Press 2007

    Contact Information


    Center for Infection and Immunity, 722 West 168th Street, Room 1703a

    New York, NY 10032


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