“Contagion” Adviser, Microbe Hunter Ian Lipkin at Hamilton PAC Nov. 15


Friday, Nov. 1, 2013


Media Contact: Ken Pekoc

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“Contagion” Adviser, Microbe Hunter Ian Lipkin at Hamilton PAC Nov. 15

International microbe hunter W. Ian Lipkin, M.D., has helped solve some of the world’s most pressing infectious disease mysteries for decades, with projects ranging from West Nile virus in New York and MERS coronavirus in Saudi Arabia to colony collapse disorder in bees and SARS coronavirus in Beijing. Just as high on his list of most memorable experiences: Training Kate Winslet to play the role of scientist for the 2011 film “Contagion.”

Dr. Lipkin, a Columbia University research professor who served as scientific adviser for director Steven Soderbergh’s film, will discuss “Bad Bugs on the Big Screen” during a community presentation Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Hamilton High School Performing Arts Center, 327 Fairgrounds Road. The talk is free and open to the public as part of a community outreach series sponsored by Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML). RML is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the National Institutes of Health.

“Contagion” has been described as one of the most accurate depictions of how an emerging viral disease can rapidly affect health care systems, economies, and social behavior. Among its messages are themes influenced by Dr. Lipkin: research programs are vital, and be prepared for the unexpected.

“ ‘Contagion’ provided a rare opportunity for a scientist to take a lifetime of research experiences to a global audience and say, ‘This is what we do, and this is why it’s important,” Dr. Lipkin said.

RML scientists collaborate with Dr. Lipkin’s research group on various projects. For example, the researchers are currently sharing expertise to better understand the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, which was first described in two patients in September 2012. According to the World Health Organization, MERS now has caused disease in 149 people and killed 63.

“Ian is probably the only virologist in the world capable of bridging the cutting edge of science to the cutting room floor of Hollywood,” said Marshall Bloom, M.D., RML Associate Director for Science. “His lecture will not only describe his work, but will chronicle the way infectious disease research has been portrayed on the silver screen. This will be not only informative, but very engaging.”

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health: NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.



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