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.
Senator, University Senate
Member, Senate Education Committee
Member, Honors and Prizes Committee
Member, Dean's Advisory Group, MSPH
Honors & Awards
Areas of Expertise
Select Urban Health Activities
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.
Select Global Activities
Gene: Environment Interactions in an Autism Birth Cohort, Norway: 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.
SARS Outbreak Training and Treatment, China (People’s Republic of): At the height of the 2003 SARS outbreak, Dr. Lipkin traveled to the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of WHO, the Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, and the Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Science, hand-carrying 10,000 test kits to Beijing and trained clinical microbiologists on the proper usage.
MERS Outbreak Evaluation, Saudi Arabia: Dr. Lipkin was the first external investigator to be invited by the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia to assist in identifying reservoirs and vectors for transmission of the MERS coronavirus.
Briese T, Kapoor A, Mischra N, Jain K, Kumar A, Jabado OJ, Lipkin WI (2015) Virome-capture-sequencing (VirCapSeq) enables sensitive viral diagnosis and comprehensive virome analysis. mBio. Sep 22; 6(5):e01491-15.
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.
Palacios G, Druce J, Du L, Tran T, Birch C, Briese T, Conlan S, Quan PL, Hui J, Marshall J, Simons JF, Egholm M, Paddock CD, Shieh WJ, Goldsmith CS, Zaki SR, Catton M, Lipkin WI (2008) A new arenavirus in a cluster of fatal transplant-associated diseases. The New England journal of medicine. Mar 6;358(10):991-8.
Cox-Foster DL, Conlan S, Holmes EC, Palacios G, Evans JD, Moran NA, Quan PL, Briese T, Hornig M, Geiser DM, Martinson V, vanEngelsdorp D, Kalkstein AL, Drysdale A, Hui J, Zhai J, Cui L, Hutchison SK, Simons JF, Egholm M, Pettis JS, Lipkin WI (2007) A metagenomic survey of microbes in honey bee colony collapse disorder. Science. Oct 12;318(5848):283-7.
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.