Marc Lipsitch

Marc Lipsitch is an American epidemiologist and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is also the Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. He is currently working on modeling the transmission of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Education and early careerEdit

Lipsitch attended Yale University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1991. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, studying zoology, and received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1995.[1] There, he studied under Robert May and Martin Nowak. He then returned to the United States for his postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University from 1995 to 1999.[1] During that time, he worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before joining the faculty at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


As an epidemiologist, Lipsitch has focused his research on better understanding the evolution of infectious disease and their effect on humans as well as investigating the triggers and mechanisms for disease immunity.[2] While this research emphasizes the study of specific pathogen characteristics, such as mapping genomic diversity of Streptococcus pneumoniae among different human populations, other research aims include more macro-level concerns such as forecasting disease and assessing pandemic response and preparedness.[2]

As Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Lipsitch oversees research engaged in improving the mathematical modeling of infectious disease as well as how such information is effectively communicated to policy-makers and their constituents.[2][3] This work also contributes to that the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, within the National Institutes of Health, as a Models of Infections Disease Agency Study (MIDAS) funded Center of Excellence.[4]

In addition to his work at Harvard, Lipsitch is credited for his work monitoring nation-wide trends of pathogens in multiple countries around the globe and currently with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Active Bacterial Core Surveillance program.  In 2009, Lipsitch served as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology within the H1N1 flu pandemic working group.[2][5]

Public outreachEdit

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lipsitch has used his social media platform on Twitter to communicate about the emerging research around the disease, as well as the implications of certain policy decisions. In March 2020, he wrote an op-ed for STAT News arguing for social distancing measures to mitigate the spread of the disease.[6] Later in April 2020, he also authored an op-ed in The New York Times, which outlined what experts currently do and do not understand around immunity to COVID-19.[7]

Awards and honorsEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Marc Lipsitch, Winner of the Kenneth Rothman EPIDEMIOLOGY Prize, 2011". Epidemiology. 22 (4): 449. July 2011. doi:10.1097/01.ede.0000399193.74187.42. ISSN 1044-3983.
  2. ^ a b c d "Marc Lipsitch - Bio, Harvard University".
  3. ^ Lipsitch, Marc. "Director's Welcome - Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health".
  4. ^ "About Us - Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health".
  5. ^ President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, H1N1 Working Group (August 7, 2009). "Report to the President on U.S. Preparations For 2009-H1N1 Influenza" (PDF).
  6. ^ Lipsitch, Marc (2020-03-18). "We know enough now to act decisively against Covid-19". STAT. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  7. ^ Lipsitch, Marc (2020-04-13). "Opinion | Who Is Immune to the Coronavirus?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  8. ^ "National Academy of Medicine Elects 100 New Members". National Academy of Medicine. 2020-10-19. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  9. ^ "79 Fellows elected to the American Academy of Microbiology". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  10. ^ "Solidarity in Action – the global Rhodes community and Coronavirus - Rhodes House". Rhodes House - Home of The Rhodes Scholarships. Retrieved 2020-04-21.