March 23, 2023—Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Alberto Ascherio and Marc Lipsitch are among 46 individuals in life sciences named to the 2023 STATUS List—a group of leaders in public health, medicine, biotechnology, and more, recognized by STAT for their contributions to their fields and their dedication to helping others.
Lipsitch is professor of epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and director of science at the CDC’s new Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, where he is leading the development and distribution of up-to-date information around evolving disease outbreaks. STAT noted that, when Lipsitch observed the government’s lackluster response to the pandemic in the spring of 2020, he “helped fill the void by providing timely, accurate information to the public via social media and news outlets,” becoming “one of the most trusted voices in the U.S. on COVID-19.”
Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, was recognized for his landmark research that found a strong connection between the Epstein-Barr virus and multiple sclerosis (MS). His 2022 paper on the topic catalyzed additional research and investment in MS and in Epstein-Barr vaccine development, as well as research into how viruses can lead to chronic diseases.
STAT also published an interview with Ascherio in which he spoke about the paper, the challenges and rewards of being a researcher, and his next professional endeavor: making progress on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
“[It’s] such a dramatic disease,” Ascherio said in the March 16 Q&A. “It’s less common, to some extent, than MS. But the disease course is a relatively rapid progressive disease. The median survival is only about three years. We are working on ALS, and we have some good preliminary results and some clues. That is my dream.”
Read STAT’s interview with Ascherio: ‘That is my dream’: Scientist who uncovered likely leading cause of MS wants to tackle ALS next