Prof Marc Lipsitch
Marc Lipsitch is Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. ChanSchool of Public Health. He is an internationally recognized expert in methods and disease transmission modelling, and has been a leading scientific authority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marc has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications on anti-microbial resistance, epidemiologic methods, mathematical modelling of infectious disease transmission, bacterial and human population genetics, immunity to Streptococcus pneumoniae, and COVID-19 epidemiology. His research informs the use of transmission-dynamic simulations to improve the design of randomized and observational studies of infectious disease interventions, and bio-ethics related to infectious diseases and clinical trials in emergencies.
His recent COVID-19 research builds on 20 years of work on SARS, pandemic influenza, and other emerging and seasonal infections, including real-time estimation of SARS transmissibility, modelling of control measures, calculating the reproductive number for the 1918 “Spanish flu” and severity of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. This work has contributed to the foundation of modern pandemic responses and informed non-pharmaceutical interventions. During the present pandemic, Marc has been featured in thousands of press articles and media interviews on COVID-19.
In 2014, Marc co-founded the Cambridge Working Group, whose efforts helped to initiate a pause in US government funding for research involving the creation of potential pandemic pathogens, such as transmission-enhanced avian influenza strains. He has written extensively on aspects of science policy in relation to such studies.
Marc was selected to the National Academies of Medicine in 2020, for his pre-COVID-19 scientific accomplishments. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and in 2014 he received the Robert Austrian Award for contributions to pneumococcal research. He is or was on the editorial advisory boards/associate editor of eLife, PLOS Medicine, Journal of Infectious Diseases, American Journal of Epidemiology, Epidemiology, and Epidemics. He currently serves on the Massachusetts Governor’s Medical Advisory Committee, and both the Massachusetts and WHO COVID-19 Vaccine Working Groups. He has also served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Working Group on H1N1 Influenza, as well as CDC’s Team B for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and several advisory groups during the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. He has provided advice to the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, Congressional Budget Office, Defense Science Board, several pharmaceutical companies and the governments of Canada, Mexico, India, Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg.
Marc joined the faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health in 1999, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University with Bruce Levin, and a visiting scientist appointment at CDC. He received a D.Phil. in Zoology as a Rhodes Scholar from the University of Oxford, where he studied with Robert May and Martin Nowak, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University.