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W. Ian Lipkin, M.D.

W. Ian Lipkin, M.D.

John Snow Professor of Epidemiology
Professor of Neurology and Pathology
Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity
Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

W. Ian Lipkin, M.D., is internationally recognized as an authority on the use of molecular methods for pathogen discovery and the role of infection in neurologic and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Dr. Lipkin has over 30 years of experience in diagnostics, microbial discovery and outbreak response. He has mentored and trained over 30 students and post-doctoral fellows and leads a workforce of over 65 principal investigators, post-doctoral fellows and research and support staff with expertise in sample and database management, bioinformatics, biostatistics, diagnostics, molecular biology, experimental pathology, serology, culture, animal models, and staged strategies for efficient pathogen discovery and proof of causation.

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. Dr. Lipkin was the first to use purely molecular methods to identify infectious agents. In 1999, he identified West Nile virus as the cause of encephalitis in North America. He developed MassTag PCR and Greenechip technology, two multiplex assays that have been used to identify and characterize more than 400 viruses, and was the first to use high throughput sequencing for pathogen discovery. In 2003, Dr. Lipkin established the Norwegian Autism Birth Cohort (ABC), the largest prospective birth cohort devoted to investigating gene-environment-timing interactions and biomarker discovery. Currently, Dr. Lipkin in leading a study in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and six other sites across the country to test the association between XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Dr. Lipkin serves as co-chair of the Steering Committee of the National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee and as Director of the Northeast Biodefense Center and the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Diagnostics, Surveillance and Immunotherapeutics for Emerging Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases, the only academic WHO Center focused on diagnostics and discovery. He has ongoing collaborations and projects with the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, USAID PREDICT, US Department of Agriculture, US Food and Drug Administration, Agilent Technologies, Pfizer, Roche 454 Life Sciences, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google.org, Institut Pasteur, and OneHealth Alliance. 

His honors include the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Young Investigator Award, Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, Distinguished Lecturer of the Nation Center for Infectious Diseases, Honorary and Founding Director of the Beijing Center for Infectious Diseases, Fellow of the American Society for Microbiology, Fellow of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Member of the Association of American Physicians. He has been featured by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Discover Magazine, Nature Medicine, the History Channel, National Geographic, National Public Radio, Wired, The Huffington Post, This Week in Virology, WNYC, and Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion.