W. Ian Lipkin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
W. Ian Lipkin
Black and white photograph of a man in a laboratory
Lipkin in 1990
Born 1952 (age 64–65)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Fields Epidemiology
Institutions Scripps Research Institute
Columbia University
Education University of Chicago Laboratory School
Alma mater Sarah Lawrence College
Rush Medical College

W. Ian Lipkin (born 1952) is the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Professor of Neurology and Pathology at College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Lipkin is also Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity, an academic laboratory for microbe hunting in acute and chronic diseases.

Lipkin was born in Chicago, Illinois where he attended the University of Chicago Laboratory School. He was President of the Student Board in 1969. He received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1974. He earned his MD from Rush Medical College, in 1978. He was a clinical clerk at the Institute for Neurology, Queen Square, in London, UK (1978–1979). He had a brief stint with the Indian Health Service in Tishomingo, Oklahoma in 1978. He then trained at University of Pittsburgh as an Intern in Medicine from 1978-79. He went on to complete a Residency in Medicine at University of Washington (1979–81), and a Residency in Neurology at University of California, San Francisco, (1981–1984). He conducted postdoctoral research in microbiology and neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute from 1984-90. He was President of the Scripps' Society of Fellows in 1987.


A physician-scientist, Lipkin is internationally recognized for his work with West Nile virus and SARS, as well as advancing pathogen discovery techniques by developing a staged strategy using techniques pioneered in his lab. These molecular biological methods, including MassTag-PCR, the GreeneChip diagnostic, and High Throughput Sequencing, are a major step towards identifying and studying new viral pathogens that emerge locally throughout the globe. A major node in a global network of investigators working to address the challenges of pathogen surveillance and discovery, Dr. Lipkin has trained over 30 internationally based scientists in these state-of-the art diagnostic techniques.

Lipkin is the director for the Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery (CRDD), under the NIH Centers of Excellence for Translational Research program.[1] The CRDD brings together leading investigators in microbial and human genetics, engineering, microbial ecology and public health to develop insights into mechanisms of disease and methods for detecting infectious agents, characterizing microflora and identifying biomarkers that can be used to guide clinical management. Lipkin was previously the Director of the Northeast Biodefense Center,[2] the Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases which comprised 28 private and public academic and public health institutions in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Within this consortium, his research focused on pathogen discovery, using unexplained hemorrhagic fever, febrile illness, encephalitis, and meningoencephalitis as targets. He is the Principal Investigator of the Autism Birth Cohort,[3] a unique international program that investigates the epidemiology and basis of neurodevelopmental disorders through analyses of a prospective birth cohort of 100,000 children and their parents. The ABC is examining gene-environment-timing interactions, biomarkers and the trajectory of normal development and disease. Lipkin also directs the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Diagnostics in Zoonotic and Emerging Infectious Diseases, the only academic center, and one of two in the US (the other is CDC), that participates in outbreak investigation for the WHO.

In 1989, Lipkin was the first to identify a microbe (Bornavirus) using purely molecular tools.[4][5] Lipkin was employed by University of California from 1990-2001. He began as Assistant Professor in the departments of Neurology, Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. He advanced to full professor in under six years and was named as the first Louise Turner Arnold Chair of Neuroscience before moving to Columbia University.

In 1999, Lipkin led the team that identified the West Nile virus in brains of encephalitis victims in New York State.[6][7] In April 2003, he sequenced a portion of the SARS virus directly from lung tissue, established a sensitive assay for infection, and hand carried 10,000 test kits to Beijing at the height of the outbreak. As the first foreign consultant to gain the confidence of the Ministry of Science and Technology[8] and the Chinese Academy of Science he was named Special Advisor to China for Research and International Cooperation in the Fight Against SARS and was instrumental in promoting disclosure and outside collaborations in infectious disease research and public health management. His position recognizes this extraordinary service, wherein Lipkin and his colleague Thomas Briese, traveling to Beijing at the height of the SARS outbreak at the request of the Chinese government, hand-carried 10,000 test kits to be used for identification and containment of infected individuals, and coordinated the national research efforts with Chen Zhou, the current Minister of Health of China. Lipkin also serves on the boards of the Guangzhou Institute for Biomedicine and Health, the Institut Pasteur de Shanghai, and is Honorary Director of the Beijing Infectious Disease Center. He became ill shortly after returning to the US and was quarantined. Most recently, Lipkin was the sole external investigator invited by the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia to assist in identifying reservoirs and vectors for transmission of the MERS coronavirus. His team was the first to isolate live virus in camels, discovered it was the same virus as was found in humans,[9] determined that a majority of Saudi camels carry antibodies to the virus, and that it has been circulating in camel populations for at least 20 years.[10]

Lipkin was co-chair of Steering Committee of the National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee (NBAS). The NBAS was established in response to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21),[11] "Public Health and Medical Preparedness."

He is Honorary Director of the Beijing Infectious Disease Center, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institut Pasteur de Shanghai and serves on boards of the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease, the Guangzhou Institute for Biomedicine and Health, the EcoHealth Alliance,[12] Tetragenetics, and 454 Life Sciences Corporation.

Lipkin served as a science consultant for the film Contagion.[13] The film has been praised for its scientific accuracy.


Throughout his career, Lipkin has been recognized for his service and ingenuity. He was awarded a NARSAD Young Investigator Award by National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression. Lipkin's work has since been recognized with the following honors: NIH Clinical Investigator Development Award; Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences; Japanese Human Science Foundation Visiting Professor; Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons Visiting Bruenn Professor; University of California (UC) Irvine Louise Turner Arnold Chair in the Neurosciences; American Society of Microbiology Foundation Lecturer; UC Irvine Distinguished Lecturer; Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Global Infectious Disease; Millennium Commencement Speaker, Sarah Lawrence College; Dalldorf Research Physician NY State Department of Health; Fellow of the NY Academy of Sciences; Distinguished Lecturer of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control; Honorary and Founding Director, Beijing Center for Infectious Diseases; Fellow, American Society for Microbiology; Columbia University Jerome L. and Dawn Greene Professor of Epidemiology; Columbia University John Snow Professor of Epidemiology; Scientific American, Top 25 Science Stories of 2007. He was the Founding Chair, Scientific Advisory Board, Cure Autism Now (merged with Autism Speaks, 2007); Featured Investigator, NIAID Discovery News, 2008 A Microbe Hunter to the World;[14] Distinguished Lecturer, Pennsylvania State University; Distinguished Lecturer, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Distinguished Lecturer, Pennsylvania State University; Distinguished Speaker, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Kinyoun Lecturer, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD; Distinguished Lecturer, Center for Autism Research, Philadelphia, PA; The Courage Fund Visiting Professorship, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore; Fellow, Wildlife Conservation Society, 2009; Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Member, Association of American Physicians; Member, National Institutes of Health Advisory Committee to the Director;[15] 2014 Oxford Simonyi Lecturer;[16] 2014 Mendel Medal recipient.[17]


  1. ^ "Centers of Excellence for Translational Research". nih.gov. 
  2. ^ http://nbc.columbia.edu
  3. ^ http://abc.columbia.edu
  4. ^ Ian Lipkin, W.; Travis, G. H.; Carbone, K. M.; Wilson, M. C. (1990). "Isolation and Characterization of Borna Disease Agent cDNA Clones". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 87 (11): 4184–4188. doi:10.1073/pnas.87.11.4184. JSTOR 2354914. PMC 54072Freely accessible. PMID 1693432. 
  5. ^ Lipkin, W. I. (2010). "Microbe Hunting". Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. 74 (3): 363–377. doi:10.1128/MMBR.00007-10. ISSN 1092-2172. 
  6. ^ Briese, Thomas; Jia, Xi-Yu; Huang, Cinnia; Grady, Leo J; Lipkin, W Ian (1999). "Identification of a Kunjin/West Nile-like flavivirus in brains of patients with New York encephalitis". The Lancet. 354 (9186): 1261–2. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(99)04576-6. PMID 10520637. 
  7. ^ Zimmer, Carl (23 November 2010). "SCIENTIST AT WORK: DR. W. IAN LIPKIN; A Man From Whom Viruses Can't Hide". The New York Times. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China". most.gov.cn. 
  9. ^ mbio.asm.org/content/5/3/e01146-14
  10. ^ Abdulaziz N. Alagaili. "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection in Dromedary Camels in Saudi Arabia". asm.org. 
  11. ^ "Homeland Security Presidential Directive". archives.gov. 18 October 2007. 
  12. ^ "Home - EcoHealth Alliance". ecohealthalliance.org. 
  13. ^ http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/NIAIDdiscoveryNews/default.htm
  14. ^ http://acd.od.nih.gov/members.htm
  15. ^ "The Simonyi Lectures - The Simonyi Professorship". ox.ac.uk. 
  16. ^ "Villanova University Awards 2014 Mendel Medal to World-Renowned Epidemiologist W. Ian Lipkin, MD". villanova.edu. 

External links[edit]