Aug. 20, 2013

Meet Ian Lipkin, Microbe Hunter and Hollywood Consultant

by The Secret Life of Scientists

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Ian Lipkin calls himself a "microbe hunter." He researches infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, SARS, and West Nile Virus. He also worked as a script consultant on Steven Soderbergh's film Contagion (2011). Not only did he design the virus that wipes out a good portion of earth's population in the film, he also instructed Gwyneth Paltrow in the proper way to have a seizure.  

For Ian, working on a Hollywood movie wasn't just a way to mingle with celebrities—it was an opportunity to communicate science to the public. When he got the call from Soderbergh's team, he said he would work on the film under one condition: "It really has to be good science." 
In the video below, Ian tells us how Sherlock Holmes has inspired his work, how Contagion has impacted public health, and about the moment that Kate Winslet sang to him on his birthday. Learn more about Ian Lipkin on his Secret Life homepage.

Watch Ian Lipkin: Catching the Hollywood Bug on PBS. See more from Secret Life of Scientists.

About The Secret Life of Scientists

PBS/NOVA’s The Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers is an Emmy-nominated web-series that profiles today's leading scientists and shows what happens when the lab coats come off.

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