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Ian Lipkin

The Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

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“I always liked infectious diseases, because you could come up with a drug… and you could give it to someone… and they would become well.”


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Ian Lipkin is a microbe hunter who studies infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and SARS.


Ian is a consultant who taught Gwyneth Paltrow how to have a seizure in “Contagion.”

Catching the Hollywood Bug

Ian Lipkin is a self-described “microbe hunter.”

30 Second Science with Ian Lipkin

A very sleepy Ian Lipkin tells us why he doesn't need a gun or a pith helmet for the type of hunt he's on.

10 Questions for Ian Lipkin

Dr. Ian Lipkin answers 10 questions and clarifies the age-old debate: Soap? Or Purell? He also gets into a lesser known dilemma: Matt Damon? Or Elliot Gould?

Matt Damon: Happy He’s Not Gwyneth Paltrow

Director Steven Soderbergh wanted the film Contagion to convey a message: no one is beyond the law of nature. Not even Gwyneth Paltrow.

Science for Soderbergh

Ian Lipkin paints a picture of life as a Hollywood Consultant by telling us about one instance in which he helped Contagion director Steven Soderbergh keep his film scientifically accurate.

A Haiku with Ian Lipkin

Our friend the microbe hunter waxes philosophical with a haiku about vaccine.

Blog Posts



About Ian Lipkin

Ian Lipkin is a self-described “microbe hunter.” A professor at Columbia University, he does research on a wide array of infectious diseases. When Ian’s not in the lab, he helps Hollywood put science up on the silver screen. Among his many other contributions to the film “Contagion,” Ian taught Gwyneth Paltrow how to have a seizure.

Original funding for "The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.