Faculty

Faculty

  • W. Ian Lipkin, MD

    • John Snow Professor of Epidemiology
    • Professor of Neurology
    • Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology

    Lipkin has devoted over 35 years to work on microbia, diagnostics, surveillance, and discovery by implementing new platforms and supporting efforts of local, national, and international public health agencies. He is internationally recognized for global public health contributions by being at the forefront of outbreak response including, but not limited to, HIV infection (1985), West Nile virus (1999), SARS (2003), LuJo (2009), MERS (2014), Zika (2016), encephalitis in India (2017), and COVID-19 (2020). Lipkin has collaborated with colleagues at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in the study of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and numerous research partners for ME/CFS. He lead the multi-center blinded study that de-linked XMRV as the causative agent for ME/CFS as well as the study disassociating the measles vaccine with ASD. Lipkin has publications in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. He consulted on COVID-19 protocols for the Director's Guild of America, the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and the 93rd Academy Awards (2021). Lipkin served as scientific consultant for "Contagion", "Utopia", and "No Time to Die".

  • Thomas Briese, PhD

    • Associate Professor of Epidemiology (in the Center for Infection and Immunity)

    Briese is a molecular microbiologist with over 30 years of experience in serology, recombinant protein and hybridoma technologies, epitope mapping, genetics and phylogenetics, diagnostics, bioinformatics, and innovative methods for pathogen surveillance and discovery. He has pioneered numerous state-of-the-art molecular methods for studying infectious agents in human diseases and established multiplex and high-throughput sequencing methods for discovery and differential diagnosis of pathogens in acute and chronic diseases. Some of Briese's work has led to the identification of West Nile virus in NYC (1999), SARS (2003), LuJo virus (2009), MERS (2014), the development of VirCapSeq-VERT (2015), and BacCapSeq (2018). He is focused on advancing modern serological assays in order to study the adaptive immune response to known pathogens and new pathogen candidates discovered through genetic approaches.

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  • J Kenneth Wickiser, PhD

    • Associate Professor of Population and Family Health at CUMC

    Wickiser is the Administrative Director of Global Alliance for Preventing Pandemics (GAPP) team in training and facilitating international public health and clinical research partners the ability to identify and contain outbreaks more efficiently, economically, and effectively using pan-pathogen diagnostic tools developed by the CII. He develops strategic public-private partnerships to ensure the transfer of specimen, supplies, equipment, and data across the GAPP network. Wickiser is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Population and Family Health where he leads research programs and teaches graduate students about global health security and infectious disease. Prior to joining the CII, he was the former Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Biochemistry at the United States Military Academy at West Point, having served in the federal government for over twenty years.

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  • Xiaoyu Che, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Biostatistics (In the Center for Infection and Immunity) at CUMC

    Che is a biostatistician with experience in statistical modeling in -omics data analysis, survival analysis, longitudinal analysis, and machine learning in epidemiology, microbiology, biomedicine, and pharmaceutics. He is the leading biostatistician on the research team focused on the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and Gulf War Illness (GWI), and is the primary biostatistician for the CII. Che has developed various statistical methods and machines learning techniques for analyses of high-dimensional datasets represented by metagenomics, metabolomics, and proteomics profiles, RNA-Seq data, and cytokine/chemokine immune signatures in feces, saliva, plasma, and cerebrospinal fluid to identify potential biomarkers for ME/CFS.

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  • Nischay Mishra, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (In the Center for Infection and Immunity) at CUMC

    Mishra is a virologist, immunologist, and molecular biologist targeting microbial infectious diseases, viral zoonoses, clinical diagnostic assay development, outbreak and epidemic investigations, wastewater surveillance, and pandemic preparedness. His research focuses on developing advanced microbial and serological platforms for pathogen discovery, emergence, evolution and surveillance of known and novel viruses and bacteria, as well as clinical diagnostic assays. His work also examines the pathogenicity, virulence, and transmissibility of microbial agents and their association to acute diseases as well as chronic disorders. He has also developed multiplex PCR assays for rapid diagnosis of Zika and SARS-CoV-2, both of which received FDA EUA approval, and his work has contributed to several patents awarded to the CII.

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  • Rafal Tokarz, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Center for Infection and Immunity at CUMC

    Tokarz is a microbiologist with a focus on identifying tick-borne agents and understanding their contribution to human disease. His objective is two-fold: (1) demonstrate poly-microbial infections in ticks are widespread and result in undiagnosed human co-infections that complicate both disease severity and treatment; and (2) uncharacterized agents represent a proportion of undiagnosed tick-transmitted infections and contribute to the clinical spectrum of tick-borne diseases. Tokarz is pursuing the development of diagnostic tests and has developed molecular and serologic assays that provide superior detection and promise for improvement of tick-borne disease diagnosis. The TBDCapSeq technology he has constructed demonstrates substantial increase in sensitivity over qPCR and can identify infections with multiple pathogens.

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  • Brent L. Williams, PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Pathology and Cell Biology (in the Center for Infection and Immunity) at CUMC

    Williams is a microbiologist with a focus on the relationship between microbes and human health, particularly with respect to the influence of microbes on neurodevelopment, gastrointestinal dysfunction (including children with autism spectrum disorder), adverse pregnancy outcomes, infectious and chronic diseases, and colorectal cancer. He has led and managed projects on both domestic and international scales, including the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network, the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), the Pathogen Discovery project of the Chronic Fatigue Initiative, and the Pathogenesis Program of the Center for Solutions for ME/CFS. Williams has identified agents of dysbiosis in the gut, the metabolic consequences of dysbiosis, and their association with symptom severity in ME/CFS as well as potential biomarkers for disease classification.

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Research Scientists

  • Sunil Kumar Dubey, PhD

    • Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Infection and Immunity

    Dubey works closely with Mishra in investigating humoral immune responses against viral pathogens to understand their implications in chronic infections. He is working on phage display development with Mishra to more accurately gauge the presence of antibodies against microbial pathogens in humans, animals, and wildlife. Combined with Dubey's experience with peptide microarrays, these innovative technologies cover a spectrum of both viruses and bacteria, which will potentially enhance the current studies on zoonotic diseases and reverse zoonoses.

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  • Amit Ranjan, PhD

    • Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Infection and Immunity

    Ranjan works closely with Lipkin and Briese on improving the efficiency and speed of the BacCapSeq platform, which is a diagnostic tool for bacterial diseases that can detect antimicrobial resistance. His work is focused on understanding and deciphering the molecular and pathological mechanisms for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and Gulf War Illness (GWI) as well as the role of resident microbiome in different stages of disease and health. Ranjan utilizes multi-omics data to delinate an understanding of the cause and persistence of clinical and physiological symptoms of ME/CFS patients.

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  • Santiago Sanchez-Vicente, PhD

    • Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Infection and Immunity

    Sanchez-Vicente works closely with Tokarz in tick-borne disease research, specifically on the development of next generation high-throughput sequencing technologies for molecular detection of tick-borne pathogens in human blood (TBDCapSeq). In a 2019 study, he documented the presence of the rickettsial symbiont in all Ixodes ticks (deer ticks) tested. Sanchez-Vicente is focusing on studies regarding the prevalence of Rickettsia amblyommatis in the United States that may be involved in the rise of rickettsiosis (a spectrum of diseases caused by the intracellular bacteria Rickettsia, which invade endothelial cells and produce a vasculitis).

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