The CII's Ian Lipkin Recipient of 2014 Mendel Medal

Posted 3/18/2014 2:57:53 PM

W. Ian Lipkin, MD, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and director of the school’s Center for Infection and Immunity, was named recipient of Villanova University’s 2014 Mendel Medal. Dr. Lipkin was selected for the honor in recognition of his groundbreaking work in the development of genetic methods for microbial surveillance and discovery.

First awarded in 1929, Villanova’s Mendel Medal is given to outstanding contemporary scientists in recognition of their scientific accomplishments. The medal honors 19th century Augustinian friar and scientist Gregor Johann Mendel, best known as “the father of modern genetics.” Previous medalists have been Nobel Laureates, Lasker and MacArthur awardees, and recipients of the National Medal of Science including Michael DeBakey, Paul Farmer, Francis Collins, Peter Doherty, Phillip Sharp, Janet Rowley, and Maxine Singer.

Dr. Lipkin, a professor of Neurology and Pathology at Columbia, also serves as director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery. Additionally, he is a member of the Advisory Committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health, scientific director of the Joint Research Laboratory for Pathogen Discovery Laboratory in the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Principal Investigator of the Autism Birth Cohort, a 114,000 prospective birth cohort in Norway.

Named “the world’s most celebrated virus hunter” by Discover Magazine, Dr. Lipkin’s scientific contributions include the first use of genetic methods to identify an infectious agent, discovery of the implication of West Nile virus as the cause of encephalitis in North America in 1999, invention of MassTag PCR and the first panmicrobial microarray, first use of deep sequencing in pathogen discovery, molecular characterization of more than 500 viruses, establishment of molecular criteria for proof of causation and insights into the role of infection and immunity in chronic disorders including chronic fatigue syndrome and autism. Recently, he was the sole external investigator invited by the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia to assist in identifying reservoirs and vectors for transmission of the MERS coronavirus.

Professor Lipkin will deliver the 2014 Mendel Medal Lecture "Of Microbes and Man: A Delicate Balance" at 2:00 p.m. on October 31, 2014

The resources are insufficient…to do what the community deserves

Posted 3/17/2014 2:30:42 PM

We are actively seeking funds to support comprehensive studies into the role of the bacteria, fungi and viruses in CFS. Research into the human microbiome is an exciting new pathway to advance our understanding of the role that over a trillion microorganisms in our body play in health and in the development of disease. An altered microbiome may cause not only gastrointestinal problems but also immunological and brain dysfunction. As the world’s largest and most advanced academic center in microbe discovery, identification and diagnosis, the Center for Infection & Immunity at Columbia University is optimally positioned to embark upon the challenge to determine how bacteria, fungi, viruses and toxins (and the immune response to them) contribute to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Discoveries in these areas may point us toward treatment strategies that reduce vulnerability through exclusion diets, probiotics or drugs.

The goal of this effort is $1.27 million by December 31, 2014.


CII's W. Ian Lipkin Receives NIH Grant to Establish a New Center of Excellence for Translational Research

Posted 3/10/2014 4:20:30 PM

Columbia Mailman School’s W. Ian Lipkin Receives NIH Grant to Establish a New Center of Excellence for Translational Research

W. Ian Lipkin, Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, has received an award of up to $31 million over a five-year period by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery (CRDD) under the auspices of a new National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) program entitled Centers of Excellence for Translational Research. 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.

Other scientists and their institutions include Ken Shepard of Columbia University’s School of Engineering, David Relman of Stanford University, Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, Michael Katze of the University of Washington, William Karesh of EcoHealth Alliance, Christina Egan of the New York State Department of Health, and Jay Varma of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

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