Infectious diseases continue to have a substantial impact on the health of communities around the world and Columbia Mailman School of Public Health is leading on new methods to understand, detect, and control pathogens. Researchers study and advise on the epidemiology of emerging and re-emerging infections, disease surveillance, development of vaccines, clinical trials, and the role of infectious pathogens in chronic non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Our researchers include the following:
Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and John Snow Professor W. Ian Lipkin, MD, has over 30 years of experience in diagnostics, microbial discovery and outbreak response. An early leader in AIDS research, Lipkin and his team have discovered or characterized more than 500 infectious agents including Borna disease virus and West Nile virus. Dr. Lipkin assisted the WHO during the 2003 SARS outbreak. He also directs large programs focused on the impact of gene-environment interactions on autism and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Research interests for associate professor of epidemiology Thomas Briese, PhD, include the molecular epidemiology of emerging viral diseases, virus-host cell interactions, and innovative approaches to pathogen diagnosis and discovery. He pioneered state-of-the-art methods in molecular biology to study the involvement of infectious agents in disease, including autism and schizophrenia. Current research efforts include the advancement of molecular detection tools for the rapid identification of potential bio-threat agents.
With multidisciplinary training in infectious disease, breast cancer epidemiology, and molecular epidemiology, assistant professor of epidemiology Jasmine McDonald, PhD, has a unique perspective on the complexities of cancer. Her research portfolio integrates individual level factors (e.g., health behaviors) and the macroenvironment (e.g. microbial exposures, physical and social factors), with biology (e.g. hormonal regulation) to inform how these impact breast cancer risk across the lifecourse.
Associate professor of epidemiology Mady Hornig, MD, is widely recognized for her research on the role of microbial, immune and toxic factors in brain conditions including autism, ADHD, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infection (PANDAS), mood disorders, schizophrenia, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and cognitive disorders of aging. She uses immune profiling, metabolomic, proteomic, epigenetic and microbiome approaches to identify prenatal and birth biomarkers for a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders.