Donate to Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity ME/CFS research. Your donations count!

Dr Ian Lipkin & the Center for Infection and Immunity emblem

Dr. Ian Lipkin & the Center for Infection and Immunity emblem


The Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at the Mailman School of Public Health in New York is internationally recognized as the world’s largest and most advanced academic center in microbe discovery, identification and diagnosis. Dr. Lipkin and Dr. Hornig and the CII team are thoroughly on the case of ME/CFS but they need our community support.

Research needs to get moving for people with this illness now – and while advocates work so hard to push for appropriate levels of funding for ME/CFS with government agencies and lobbying – we can also make huge gains in research by donating! Globally, and together we can keep quality research programs going and invest in new projects. We’ve done that so far, and we can keep on investing in our future. Donations of all sizes are helping CII push forward with their program. We are so grateful for the support our community has given to these fantastic researchers – we need them on the case!

There is a shocking lack of good research into ME/CFS, where funding has been akin to a wasteland. In clinical care settings around the world patients are also floundering in a similar wasteland. Great research comes at a very large cost and ME/CFS research needs all the help it can get. There are no FDA approved treatments for this illness!

“ME/CFS is a global problem that we need to address – it robs people of the most productive years of their lives, it causes immunological dysfunction, profound fatigue, cognitive dysfunction. It really destroys peoples’ lives. It is underappreciated, it is underfunded, and with your support we hope to find solutions to this crippling problem”. ~Dr. Ian Lipkin

Dr. Lipkin, Director of the Columbia University Center for Infection and Immunity and Dr. Hornig, Director of Translational Research and their team are actively engaged in state-of-the-art research into ME/CFS. They aim to provide insights into the disease that will lead to the development of diagnostic tests and eventual treatments. They have already produced a landmark study that showed that the cytokine profile of ME/CFS patients is abnormal and changes markedly after three years, providing more robust evidence of the biological basis of ME/CFS. These findings made international headlines, also being reported in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Having these world class researchers involved with ME/CFS research is groundbreaking in itself for the ME/CFS field of science and we applaud their commitment to this illness. CII staff have even donated their time to work on some ME/CFS studies!

These researchers are constantly building on their current program of work, are collaborative and known creative problem solvers: just look at their exceptional work in this article ‘Hunting down the cause of ME/CFS and & other challenging disorders’ by Simon McGrath. They are keen to start working on biomarker validation studies and develop an ME Center of Excellence! This team has strong ambitions and an equally strong ability to achieve these and have committed a significant percentage of their resources at CII into an ME/CFS program of research. In fact, Dr. Lipkin recently stated that he believes that we can solve ME/CFS in 3 to 5 years provided the resources are made available, see Cort Johnson’s impressive article about Dr. Lipkin’s talk at a recent Simmaron Research event.

Dr. Mady Hornig

Current program of ME/CFS research

Analysis and Testing

The researchers are working on figuring out one of the central problems in ME/CFS: “heterogeneity”. This basically means there are probably many different subgroups of patients, some of who are likely to have different diseases, all caught under the current ME/CFS umbrella. The team are working with 5 different ME/CFS specialist clinicians at different sites across the US, along with other US researchers. They hope that the foundation they develop for a Center of Excellence in ME will ultimately have a global component.

They are implementing cutting edge technology and science looking into pathogen discovery; immune signatures; gene expression and variants; antibodies to viruses, bacteria and fungi that lead to autoimmune type of responses as well as phage approaches for anti-pathogen antibodies. Other high-tech approaches, some of which were developed by Dr. Lipkin and his lab include, MassTag PCR – High throughput sequencing, the new VircapSeq – VERT test, a 51 cytokine and chemokine immunoassay panel, metabolomics and proteomics.

They are investigating the oral pharyngeal (mouth and throat) and gut microbiome, spinal fluid and analysing gene expression. This is a phenomenal amount of work involving many people with carefully characterized cohorts from the ME/CFS expert clinicians that they collaborate with. The programme entails a huge amount of investigation and discovery. The research will help reveal the molecular detail of what might be going wrong for people with ME/CFS.


Pure Pathogen Discovery Projects

National Institutes of Health/NIAID 150 cases, 150 controls: blinded multisite viral analysis (XMRV/pLMV)Samples still banked, able to be used.

With Dr Montoya, Stanford University 284 cases, 196 controls: pathogen discovery

Chronic Fatigue Initiative 200 cases, 200 controls: pathogen discovery, immune signatures, metabolomics, proteomics. Subset of 50/50 controls: microbiome, longitudinal immune analysis (12 – 18 months after 1st sampling )

Other Projects

Cerebro spinal fluid study, with Dr Petersen 60 cases, 60 multiple sclerosis/no disease controls: pathogen discovery, immune signatures, proteomics and metabolomics. Cerebrospinal fluid bathes the brain, and these samples give a unique window on what’s happening in the brain.

Dr Peterson “unusual” cases 10 cases, 10 matched controls.

TruCulture exercise study 23 cases, 23 controls ( in development )

Large Microbial Discovery and Immunity study in ME/CFS

National Institutes of Health/NINDS/Microbe Discovery Project (in progress) 125 cases, 125 matched controls: sample collection in blood at 2 time points, stool and saliva at 4 time points over a year. Microbiome (bacteriome, mycobiome, virome), proteomics, metabolomics, immunology, genetics and epigenetics. Foundation for the establishment of a Center of Excellence. Collection has been funded through NINDS and donations, as well as heavily subsidized by CII. Read more about this massive study that needs our community’s support here.

$5 million is needed for tests and analysis for this very large, extensive

Microbial Discovery and Immunity study!



Please DONATE to help make this quality research into ME/CFS happen!


Your donations count! CII continues to leave no stone unturned and is fundraising through all possible avenues! We can help them move us forward – which will lead to bigger findings and more government funding and grants. We have no doubt that the Columbia CII team will make very significant breakthroughs for ME/CFS!

See the resources page for more background information and links. Thank you so much for your continued support!

~ The Microbe Discovery Project team


To contact the Microbe Discovery Project team email – and see HERE to find out how you can help to gain more support and donations for this effort.

If you are considering making a Major Gift of $10,000 and over, or would like to offer a matching donation please contact Fern Schwartz at

To Donate by check:
If you have a US dollar bank account, you can send a check made payable to: ‘The Trustees of Columbia University’, with a note in the memo line to read, ‘Lipkin ME/CFS/Microbiome Study’.
Postal Address:
The Center for Infection and Immunity
Columbia University
722 W. 168th Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10032
Wire/Bank account transfers:
Use the following account information as per this Wells Fargo Wire Instructions:
Account Number: 2000011749277
ABA#: 121000248 (For Incoming Wires and ACH’s)

For International Wires Only:
Use the international Swift Code = WFBIUS6S

Bank Name: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Bank Address: 375 Park Avenue, 6th Floor, MAC J0127-063, New York, New York 10152

Bank Phone #: 904-634-6379 or 212-214-6580

Give as much information as possible in the comments section of your wire. Specifically:

Please provide your name.
The purpose of your gift – please enter as “Lipkin ME/CFS Microbiome Study”
Name of school/department to receive the gift as “Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health/Center for Infection and Immunity”

If you have any questions about wire transfers, please contact Columbia’s Gift Systems department at: or phone 1-866-GIFTSYS in the United States.



Disclaimer: All content has not been reviewed or approved by Drs. Lipkin and Hornig and the Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University; images are courtesy of CII.