Our Faculty

Home » Our Faculty » W. Ian Lipkin

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
    Honors and Awards:
    • Fellow, New York Academy of Sciences
    • Pew Scholar, 1991
    • Member, Advisory Committee to the Director, National Institutes of Health, 2013-
    • Simonyi Lecture, 2014
    • Mendel Medal, 2014
    • Selected Editorial Boards

      • mBio
    New York City
      Pathogen Surveillance in NYC Rodents
      Primary investigator on project to determine the microflora of rats and mice in proximity to densely populated and high traffic areas in New York City.

      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

      Joint Research Laboratory for Pathogen Discovery with the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

    Selected Publications:
    • Alagaili AN, Briese T, Mishra N, Kapoor V, Sameroff SC, de Wit E, Munster VJ, Hensley LE, Zalmout IS, Kapoor A, Epstein JH, Karesh WB, Daszak P, Mohammed OB, Lipkin WI (2014) Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in dromedary camels in Saudi Arabia. mBio, 5(2):e00884-14.
    • Lipkin WI (2013) The changing face of pathogen surveillance and discovery. Nature Rev Microbiol, 11: 133.
    • Anthony SJ, Epstein JH, Murray KA, Navarrete-Macias I, Zambrana-Torrelio CM, Solovyov A, Ojeda-Flores R, Arrigo NC, Islam A, Khan SA, Hosseini P, Bogich TL, Olival KJ, Sanchez-Leon MD, Karesh WB, Goldstein T, Luby SP, Morse SS, Mazet JAK, Daszak P, Lipkin WI (2013) A strategy to estimate unknown viral diversity in mammals. mBio, 4:5 e00598-13
    • Alter HJ, Mikovits JA, Switzer WM, Ruscetti FW, Lo SC, Klimas N, Komaroff AL, Montoya JG, Bateman L, Levine S, Peterson D, Levin B, Hanson MR, Genfi A, Bhat M, Zheng H, Wang R, Li B, Hung GC, Lee LL, Sameroff S, Heneine W, Coffin J, Hornig M, Lipkin WI (2012) A multicenter blinded analysis indicates no association between chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis and either xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus or polytropic murine leukemia virus. mBio, 3: e00266-12.
    • 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 WI (2005) Diagnostic system for rapid and sensitive differential detection of pathogens Emerg Infect Dis, 1: 310-313.
    • Hoffman KL, Hornig M, Yaddanapudi K, Jabado O, Lipkin WI (2004) A murine model for neuropsychiatric disorders associated with group AЯ-hemolytic streptococcal infection J Neurosci, 24:1780-1791.
    • Hornig M, Weissenback H, Horscroft N, Lipkin WI (1999) An infection-based model of neurodevelopmental damage Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 96:12102-12107
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Lipkin WI, Parry G, Kiprov D, Abrams D (1985) Inflammatory neuropathy in homosexual men with lymphadenopathy. Neurology, 35: 1479.

    Contact Information


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

    New York, NY 10032


    Website Address:

    Homepage URL