Message from the Director

Welcome to the Center for Infection and Immunity and our community of investigators, educators, clinicians, patients, and partners. Our faculty has pioneered the use of diagnostics for discovery, surveillance, and treatment of infectious diseases since 1984 with subtractive cloning, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), microarrays, pyrosequencing, capture sequencing, and serology.

Photo of Ian Lipkin sitting on a couch.

W. Ian Lipkin, MD

These methods have allowed us to promote precision medicine and public health worldwide in collaboration with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Internationally, we have partnered with colleagues on six continents for outbreak investigations, such as Dandenong (Australia), LuJo (Zambia/South Africa), SARS (China), MERS (Saudi Arabia), unexplained encephalitis (India), acute flaccid myelitis (US), monkeypox (Liberia), and COVID-19 (worldwide). Additionally, we support capacity building in low- and middle-income countries with our Global Alliance for Preventing Pandemics (GAPP) program.

The CII has a longstanding commitment to exploring the role of gene-environment interactions in the pathogenesis of chronic diseases that may represent unfortunate undetected exposures to infectious agents. These include neurodevelopmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD), myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), tick-borne diseases, and Gulf War Illness (GWI). The same methods used for investigating human diseases have been helpful in addressing challenges to wildlife and domestic animals that have implications for food security and ecosystem health. We have identified threats to honeybees, tilapia, and salmon that enabled diagnostics for containment and vaccines to prevent disease.

We have also been active in public education with several editorials written in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, other publications in Foreign Affairs and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, as well as television and radio interviews. I have also had the priviledge of consulting for the movie "Contagion" as well as the Director's Guild of America and the 2020 Democratic National Convention during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, we worked with Stephen Soderberg and Scott Z. Burns to write scripts for some of the "Contagion" actors to record public service announcements about the pandemic when very little was known about SARS-CoV-2. The following January, we again worked with Burns to film vaccine PSAs featuring CUIMC and Washington Heights community members for the New York State "Roll Up Your Sleeve" campaign.

The CII is committed to the core mission of global health and we hope to have a continued positive impact on improving quality of life.

 

W. Ian Lipkin, MD
Director, Center for Infection and Immunity

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