W. Ian Lipkin
|W. Ian Lipkin|
|Born||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Education||University of Chicago Laboratory School|
First to use molecular methods to identify an infectious agent (MassTag-PCR, GreeneChip, High Throughput Sequencing
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 the 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 and was President of the Student Board in 1969. Looking to originally become a cultural anthropologist, he relocated to New York and earned his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1974. During his time at Sarah Lawrence, "I felt that if I went straight into cultural anthropology after college I’d be a parasite. I’d go someplace, take information about myths and ritual, and have nothing to offer. So I decided to become a medical anthropologist and try to bring back traditional medicines. Suddenly I found myself in medical school." Returning back to his hometown Chicago, Lipkin earned his MD from Rush Medical College, in 1978. In the immediate years thereafter, he was a clinical clerk at the UCL Institute of Neurology in Queen Square, London on a fellowship and an Intern in medicine at University of Pittsburgh (1978–1979), completed a Residency in Medicine at University of Washington (1979–1981), and completed 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 under the mentorship of Michael Oldstone and Floyd Bloom. In his six years at Scripps, Lipkin became a Senior Research Associate upon completing his postdoctoral work and was President of the Scripps' Society of Fellows in 1987.
Lipkin was the Louise Turner Arnold Chair in the Neurosciences at the University of California, Irvine from 1990-2001 and was recruited shortly thereafter by Columbia University. He began his current tenure at Columbia as the founding director of the Jerome L. and Dawn Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory from 2002-2007, which transitioned to the John Snow Professorship he holds at present.
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. 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, 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, 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.
Lipkin was co-chair of CDC Steering Committee of the National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee (NBAS). The NBAS was established in response to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), "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, Tetragenetics, and 454 Life Sciences Corporation.
While not quite a medical anthropologist, Lipkin specializes in infectious diseases and their neurological impact. His first professional publication came in 1979 during the time of his fellowship in London as a letter to the Editor at the Archives of Internal Medicine (now JAMA Internal Medicine), where he poses a potential correlation between eosinopenia and bacteremia in diagnostic evaluations for a bacteremic patient. While at UCL, he worked with John Newsom-Davis, who was utilizing plasmapheresis to better understand myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease.
In 1981, Lipkin began his neurology residency and worked in a local San Francisco clinic, which was about the time AIDS began to affect the local city population. Because of the social view of homosexual people at the time, very few clinicians would see patients with these symptoms. He “was watching many patients fall ill with AIDS. It took years for scientists to discover the virus responsible for the disease… ‘I saw all of this, and I said, “We have to find new and better ways to do this.”’” It was during this epidemic that Lipkin took the approach of looking for a virus’ genes instead of looking for antibodies in infected people as a way to speed up the diagnosis process. By the mid-1980s, Lipkin had published two papers specifically about AIDS research and transitioned into utilizing a more pathological approach to virus identification. He identified AIDS-associated immunological abnormalities and inflammatory neuropathy, which he showed could be treated with plasmapheresis and demonstrated early life exposure to viral infections affects neurotransmitter function.
In 1989, Lipkin was the first to identify a microbe using purely molecular tools. During his time as Chair at UC Irvine, Lipkin published several papers throughout the decade dissecting and interpreting Bornavirus. Once it was apparent the viral infections could selectively alter behavior and steady state brain levels of neurotransmitter mRNAs, the next step was to look for infectious agents which could be used as probes to map anatomic and functional domains in the central nervous system (CNS).
By the mid-1990s, it was asserted that “Borna disease is a neurotropic negative-strand RNA virus that infects a wide range of vertebrate hosts,” causing “an immune-mediated syndrome resulting in disturbances in movement and behavior.” This lead to several groups across the globe working to determine if there was a link between Borna disease virus (BDV) or a related agent and human neuropsychiatric disease. The group was formally called Microbiology and Immunology of Neuropsychiatric Disorders (MIND) and the multicenter, multi-national group focused on using standardized methods for clinical diagnosis and blinded laboratory assessment of BDV infection. After nearly two decades of inquiry, the first blinded case-controlled study of the link between BDV and psychiatric illness was completed by the researchers at Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity in a joint effort that concluded there is no association between the two. Lipkin noted “it was concern over the potential role of BDV in mental illness and the inability to identify it using classical techniques that led us to develop molecular methods for pathogen discovery. Ultimately these new techniques enabled us to refute a role for BDV in human disease. But the fact remains that we gained strategies for the discovery of hundreds of other pathogens that have important implications for medicine, agriculture, and environmental health.”
West Nile Virus
In 1999, West Nile virus was reported in two patients in Flushing Hospital Medical Center in Queens, New York. Lipkin led the team identifying West Nile virus in brain tissue of encephalitis victims in New York State It was determined potential routes for the spread of West Nile virus throughout New York (and the Eastern United States) originated from predominantly mosquitoes, but also possible from infected birds or human beings. There is a high likelihood the two international airports nearby the initial reported cases were also the initial points of entry into the United States. During the five years after the first reported case, Lipkin worked on a study with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Wadsworth Center at the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to determine how a vaccine could be developed. While they had some success with the immunization of mice with prME-LPs, as of 2018, there is still no human vaccine for WNV.
Chinese scientists first discovered the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus in February 2003, but due to initial misinterpretation of the data, the information of the correct agent associated with SARS was suppressed and the outbreak investigation had a delayed start. Advanced hospital facilities were at the greatest risk as they were most susceptible to virus transmission, so it was the “classical gumshoe epidemiology” of “contact tracing and isolation” that brought swift action against the epidemic. Lipkin was requested to assist with the investigation by Chen Zhou, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Xu Guanhua, minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology in China to “assess the state of the epidemic, identify the gaps in science, and develop a strategy for containing the virus and reducing morbidity and mortality.” This brought the development of Real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) technology, which essentially allowed for the detection of infection at earlier time points as the process, in this instance, targets the N gene sequence and amplify the analysis in a closed system. This markedly reduces the risk of contamination during processing. Test kits were developed with this PCR-based assay analysis and 10,000 were hand-delivered to Beijing during the height of the outbreak by Lipkin, whereupon he trained local clinical microbiologists on the proper usage. He became ill upon his return to the U.S. and was quarantined.
Lipkin was asked to join the Defense Science Board Task Force on SARS Quarantine Guidance during the height of the SARS outbreak between 2003–04, to advise the U.S. Department of Defense on steps to domestically manage the epidemic. As part of the EcoHealth Alliance, Lipkin’s center worked in conjunction with an NIH/NIAID grant assessing bats as the reservoir for the SARS virus. 47 publications resulted from this grant, which also included assessment on Nipah, Hendra, Ebola, and Marburg viruses. This proved to be significant research on the overall study of viral reservoirs as it was determined that bats carry coronaviruses and either directly infect humans with an exchange of bodily fluid (such as a bite) or indirectly by infecting an intermediate host, such as swine.
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) was first reported in Saudi Arabia during June 2012 when a local man was initially diagnosed with acute pneumonia and later died of renal failure. The early reports of the disease were similar to SARS as the symptoms are similar, but it was quickly determined these cases were caused by a new strain called MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Given Lipkin’s expertise with the SARS outbreak in China nearly ten years prior, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health granted Lipkin and his lab local access to animal samples related to the initial reported cases. With the rare opportunity, Lipkin’s team created a mobile lab able to fit in six pieces of personal luggage and was transported from New York to Saudi Arabia via commercial flight to complete the analysis of samples.
It seemed unlikely that bats were directly infecting humans, as the direct physical interaction between the two is limited at best. A study was completed in more local proximity, examining the diverse bat populations in southeastern Mexico and determining how diverse the viruses they carry could be. However, it became apparent that dromedary camels were the intermediary in the transmission between bats and humans, since camel milk and meat are dietary staples in the Saudi Arabian region. The instances of human-to-human transmission appeared to be isolated to case-patients and anyone in close direct contact with them, as opposed to a broad open-air transmission. By 2017, it was determined that bats are most likely the evolutionary original source for MERS-CoV along with several other coronaviruses, though not all of those types of zoonotic viruses are direct threats to humans like MERS-CoV and “[c]ollectively, these examples demonstrate that the MERS-related coronaviruses are high associated with bats and are geographically widespread.”
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a chronic condition characterized by extreme fatigue after exertion that is not relieved by rest and includes other symptoms, such as muscle and joint pain and cognitive disfunction. In September 2017, the NIH awarded a $9.6 million grant to Columbia University for the "CfS for ME/CFS" intended for the pursuit of basic research and the development of tools to help both physicians and patients effectively monitor the course of the illness. This collaboration effort led by Lipkin includes other institutions, such as the Bateman Horne Center (Lucinda Bateman), Harvard University (Anthony L. Komaroff), Stanford University (Jose Montoya), Sierra Internal Medicine (Daniel Peterson), University of California, Davis (Oliver Fiehn), and Albert Einstein College of Medicine (John Greally), along with private clinicians in New York City.
The team of researchers and clinicians initially collaborated to de-link xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) to ME/CFS after the NIH requested research into the conflicting reports between XMRV and ME/CFS. The group "consolidated its vision with support from the Hutchins Family Foundation Chronic Fatigue Initiative (CFI) and a crowd-funding organization, The Microbe Discovery Project, to explore the role of infection and immunity in disease and identify biomarkers for diagnosis through functional genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic discovery." The project will collect a large clinical database and sample repository representing oral, fecal, and blood samples from well-characterized ME/CFS subjects and frequency-matched controls collected nationwide over a period of several years. Additionally, researchers are working with ME/CFS community and advocacy groups as the project progresses.
Awards and Honors
- "Ian Lipkin The Virus Hunter, Discovery Magazine, April 2012" (PDF).
- "Realtor to Give $1.62 Million for UCI Chair. Los Angeles Times. Catherine Gewertz, March 31, 1993".
- "Centers of Excellence for Translational Research". nih.gov.
- "Region II NIH Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases".
- "Dr. W. Ian Lipkin Named Co-Chair of CDC Subcommittee". 15 July 2010.
- "Homeland Security Presidential Directive". archives.gov. 18 October 2007.
- "Home - EcoHealth Alliance". ecohealthalliance.org.
- "Five Questions for Ian Lipkin, the Scientist Who Designed Contagion's Virus".
- "Eosinophil Counts in Bacteremia, Arch Intern Med, Vol 139, April 1979" (PDF).
- ""Therapuetic effects" in Encyclopedia of Immunology (Second Edition), 1998, p. 1969-71".
- "A Man From Whom Viruses Can't Hide, Carl Zimmer, New York Times, Nov. 22, 2010".
- "Panitch H, Francis G, Hooper C, Messing R, Lipkin WI. Immunological studies in patients with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Ann NY Acad Sci. Jan 1984; 437, p. 513-17" (PDF).
- "Lipkin WI, Parry G, Kiprov D, Abrams D. Inflammatory neuropathy in homosexual men with lymphadenopathy. Neurology. Oct 1985;35(10), p. 1479-83" (PDF).
- 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 . PMID 1693432.
- Lipkin, W. I. (2010). "Microbe Hunting". Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. 74 (3): 363–377. doi:10.1128/MMBR.00007-10. ISSN 1092-2172. PMC .
- "Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity Publications, 1990-99".
- Lipkin, WI; Carbone, KM; Wilson, MC; et al. (Dec 1988). "Neurotransmitter abnormalities in Borna disease". 475 (2): 366–70. PMID 2905625.
- Briese, T; Schneemann, A; Lewis, AJ; et al. (May 1994). "Genomic organization of Borna disease virus". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 91 (10): 4362–66. PMID 8183914.
- Lipkin, WI (1997). "Borna disease virus and mental illness" (PDF). Journal of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill. pp. 50–52.
- Lipkin, WI; Hornig, M; Briese, T (July 2001). "Borna disease virus and neuropsychiatric disease – a reappraisal". Trends Microbiol. 9 (7): 295–8. PMID 11435078.
- Hornig, M; Briese, T; Licinio, J; et al. (Jan 2012). "Absence of evidence for bornavirus infection in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder". Mol Psychiatry. 17 (5): 486–93. PMID 22290118.
- "Does Borna Disease Virus Cause Mental Health? Stephanie Berger. Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. January 31, 2012".
- 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.
- Qiao, M; Ashok, M; Bernard, KA; et al. "Induction of Sterilizing Immunity against West Nile Virus (WNV), by Immunization with WNV-Like Particles Produced in Insect Cells". J Infect Dis. 190 (12): 2104–8. PMID 15551208.
- "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: West Nile Virus".
- "Book Review, SARS: How a global epidemic was stopped, W. Ian Lipkin, MD, 2006".
- "Ian Lipkin Receives Top Science Honor in China, Columbia University, January 8, 2016".
- Zhai, J; Briese, T; Dai, E; et al. (Apr 2004). "Real-time polymerase chain reaction for detecting SARS coronavirus, Beijing, 2003". Emerg Infect Dis. 10 (2): 300–3. PMID 15030701.
- "Columbia University Technology Ventures, submission date April 15, 2003".
- "W. Ian Lipkin, MD, Bio, Center for Infection and Immunity".
- "Grant: Risk of Viral Emergence from Bats, funding period 2008-13".
- Quan, PL; Firth, C; Street, C; et al. (Oct 2010). "Identification of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-like virus in a leaf-nosed bat in Nigeria". mBio. 1 (4). PMID 21063474.
- "Bat Out of Hell? Egyptian Tomb Bat May Harbor MERS Virus".
- "Meet the World's Top Virus Hunter".
- Anthony, SJ; Ojeda-Flores, R; Rico-Chavez, O; et al. (2013). "Coronaviruses in bats from Mexico". J Gen Vir (94): 1928–1938.
- "Will MERS become a global threat?".
- Memish, ZA; Mishra, N; Olival, KJ; et al. (2013). "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Bats, Saudi Arabia". Emerg Inf Dis. 19 (11): 1819–1823.
- Anthony, SJ; Gilardi, K; Menachery, VD; et al. (2017). "Further Evidence for Bats as the Evolution Source of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus". mBio. 8 (2): e00373–17.
- "MERS-like coronavirus identified in Ugandan bat".
- "NIH Awards $9.6 Million Grant to Columbia for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Collaborative Research Center".
- "NIH Research Portolio Online Reporting Tools, Project Information".
- "NIH announces center for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome research".
- "Center for Genetic Medicine, Silverstein Lecture Video Archive".
- "This Precision Medicine Technology Was Hailed as a "World Changing Idea"".
- "W. Ian Lipkin Faculty Profile, Columbia University, MSPH".
- "Seminars: Dr. Kenneth S. and Audrey S. Gould Lecture Series in Molecular and Cellular Medicine".
- "Villanova University Awards 2014 Mendel Medal to World-Renowned Epidemiologist W. Ian Lipkin, MD".
- ""Of Microbes and Men: Tales of a Small Game Hunter" Simonyi Lecture by W. Ian Lipkin".
- "CII Director Receives Rush Medical College Distinguished Alumni Award".
- "Drexel Prizes Awarded for Scientific Excellence".
- "Hsu-Li Distinguished Lectureship in International Epidemiology".
- "Dual Use Research of Concern in the Life Sciences: Current Issues and Controversies, page 87".
- "Science Seminars: 16-22 March 2009".
- "Triological Society Annual Program, Friday, May 19, 2006" (PDF).
- "mBio Professional Profile: Board of Editors, W. Ian Lipkin, MD".
- ""West Nile Virus Treatment Found", NewsWise, University of California, Irvine".
- "Timeline of Commencement Speakers & Senior Lecturers, 2000s Tab".
- "Science History Institute, Center for Oral History: W. Ian Lipkin, MD".
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