Stephen S. Morse, PhD

  • Professor of Epidemiology at CUMC
Profile Headshot


Dr. Stephen S. Morse's interests focus on epidemiology and risk assessment of infectious diseases (particularly emerging infections, including influenza), and improving disease early warning systems. In 2000, he returned to Columbia after 4 years in government as program manager for Biodefense at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Department of Defense, where he co-directed the Pathogen Countermeasures program and subsequently directed the Advanced Diagnostics program. Before coming to Columbia, he was assistant professor of Virology at The Rockefeller University in New York, and remains an adjunct faculty member. His book, Emerging Viruses (Oxford University Press) was selected by "American Scientist" for its list of "100 Top Science Books of the 20th Century". Dr. Morse was chair and principal organizer of the 1989 NIAID/NIH (National Institutes of Health) Conference on Emerging Viruses, for which he originated the term and concept of emerging viruses/infections; served as a member of the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health (and chaired its Task Force on Viruses), and was a contributor to its report, Emerging Infections (1992).  He subsequently served on the Steering Committee of the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats, and has served on a number of National Academies of Sciences committees on infectious diseases, biomedical policy, and biotechnology; and as an adviser to numerous government and international organizations. He was the founding chair of ProMED (the nonprofit international Program to Monitor Emerging Diseases) and was an originator of ProMED-mail, an international network inaugurated by ProMED in 1994 for outbreak reporting and disease monitoring using the Internet.  He was appointed to the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) in 2014.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Epidemiology at CUMC

Administrative Titles

  • Director, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Certificate Program
  • Chair, Institutional Biosafety Committee
  • Member, Institutional Health & Safety Council

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 1971 City College New York
  • MS, 1974 University of Wisconsin
  • PhD, 1977 University of Wisconsin

Committees, Societies, Councils

Global Co-Director, USAID PREDICT, 2009-2014

Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology

Fellow, American College of Epidemiology

Fellow, New York Academy of Sciences (and Past Chair, Microbiology Section)

Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine

Founding Chair, ProMED (Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases)

Editorial Boards

Associate Editor, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness

Viral Immunology

Health Security

Honors & Awards

Fellow, AAAS

Elected Life Member, Council on Foreign Relations

Member, NSABB (National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, housed at the Office of the Director, NIH)

Who's Who in America


Research Interests

  • Global Health
  • History and Ethics
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Urban Health

Selected Publications

Morse SS, Mazet JAK, Woolhouse M, Parrish CR, Carroll D, Karesh WB, Zambrana-Torrelio C, Lipkin WI, Daszak P . "Prediction and prevention of the next pandemic zoonosis."  Lancet: 380. 1956-1965, 2012.

Morse  SS.  "Public health surveillance and infectious disease detection."  Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: 10. 6-16, 2012.

Morse SS. "The U.S. pandemic influenza implementation plan at six months."  Nature Medicine: 13. 681-684, 2007.

Morse SS, Garwin RL, Olsiewski PJ.  "Next flu pandemic: what to do until the vaccine arrives?"  Science: 314. 929, 2006.

Morse SS. "Pandemic influenza: studying the lessons of history."  Proc Nat. Acad Sci (USA) : 104. 7313-7314, 2007.

Murray EJ, Morse SS.  "Seasonal oscillation of human infection with H5N1 Influenza A in Egypt and Indonesia."  PLoS ONE: 6. e24042, 2011.

Olson DR, Simonsen L, Edelson PJ, Morse SS.  "Epidemiological evidence of an early wave of the 1918 influenza pandemic in New York City."  Proc Natl Acad Sci (USA): 102. 11059-11063, 2005.

Morse SS, Rosenberg BH, Woodall J, ProMED Steering Committee Drafting Subgroup.  "Global monitoring of emerging diseases: design for a demonstration program."  Health Policy: 38. 135-153, 1996.

Morse SS.  "Factors in the emergence of infectious diseases."  Emerging Infectious Diseases: 1.  7-15, 1995.

SS Morse (Ed.)  Emerging Viruses. Oxford University Press.  New York  and Oxford UK.  1993.

Global Health Activities

International scientific collaborations, World: Dr. Morse cooperates with scientists on research in microbiology/virology and development of early warning and response systems for prevention of infectious diseases, and has developed collaborative projects in the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, Senegal, Gabon, and Uganda (among others). He was Global co-Director of the USAID PREDICT project, 2009-2014. PREDICT works with scientists in the field in almost two dozen developing countries worldwide, building capacity for surveillance and identification of emerging infectious diseases, particularly from zoonotic reservoirs, and to develop data on the occurrence of these pathogens (both known and novel) for development of risk-based analytic and predictive approaches. Additional collaborative influenza and public health projects in Singapore and Hong Kong. Member, Council on Foreign Relations.

WHO Expert Group on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Planning in the E. Med. Region, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen: WHO consultant and Member of WHO Expert committee.

Urban Health Activities

Center for Public Health Preparedness/NCDP: Dr. Morse works with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) on enhancing emergency preparedness and training the public health workforce.

NYC DOHMH WMD Advisory Group: Dr. Morse is a member of the DOHMH Bioterrorism/WMD Advisory Group.

NYC DOHMH Advisory Committee for the Public Health Laboratories: Dr. Morse is also a member of the DOHMH Advisory Committee for the NYC Public Health Laboratories.