Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR): A Timeline of Transforming Global Health

When our founder, Ken Stuart, Ph.D., set up a research laboratory in 1976 in a suburb of Seattle, he wanted to create an environment where the best and brightest scientists from around the world could come together to combat deadly parasitic diseases. Those efforts soon gained recognition around the world.

Today, CIDR is an internationally recognized research center with partners and collaborators across the US and the world. Our staff has grown from five to nearly 300. With an annual budget in excess of $30 million, the Center has a sustainable business model, having diversified its funding sources to include a mix of government grants, private foundation grants and individual donors.

Looking forward, we are moving ahead by embracing the possibilities that come with new technologies and more collaborations to make transformative advancements in the treatment and prevention of diseases that kill more than 14 million people each year.


CIDR is founded by Ken Stuart, Ph.D., to focus on deadly parasitic diseases. It becomes the nation’s first independent research institute solely focused on global infectious diseases.

Members of the center's original team


Founder Ken Stuart is invited to advise the World Health Organization about future research into tropical diseases, marking the rise of CIDR into international significance.

Late 1980s

The Stuart Lab discovers RNA editing, upsetting the central dogma of biology and revealing new opportunities for therapies and control of biological systems.


CIDR launches HIV research program, investing in immunity and smart vaccine research.


CIDR introduces malaria parasite research to Seattle, leading to funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


CIDR opens new specially designed state-of-the-art facility seeding Seattle’s global health hub.


CIDR leads the genome sequencing of parasites that cause leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis, providing researchers world-wide with valuable genetic information for developing treatments.


CIDR's tuberculosis research expands with the opening of a new biosafety level 3 lab, along with an extant BL2/3 lab dedicated to HIV research.


The Human Challenge Center opens, one of only four in the world where malaria vaccines are directly tested in human volunteers. Now, malaria researchers can work on vaccine development from basic research to clinical trials.


The Center introduces systems biology to infectious disease research under the new leadership of Alan Aderem, Ph.D. By integrating research across diseases and disciplines, the Center begins an interdisciplinary renaissance of scientific discovery.


CIDR discovers how malaria parasites bind to brain blood vessels during often-fatal cerebral malaria, a critical step needed to develop new treatments (see paper).


CIDR's HIV research leads to breakthroughs in understanding how broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV are generated during HIV-infection – foundational knowledge for HIV vaccine development (see paper).


After years as Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, our name changes to the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR), better reflecting our global reach and mission.

Tuberculosis Gene Regulatory network is revealed through systems biology, providing a key to understanding and battling drug resistance (see paper).

The GAP3KO malaria vaccine candidate successfully completes the first phase of clinical trials, moving closer to approval and adoption. Dr. Stefan Kappe (below) demonstrates a malaria vaccine challenge for Bill Gates and members of Gates Foundation leadership.


Systems biology leads to the discovery of a biomarker in blood that predicts a patient’s risk of converting from latent tuberculosis to active disease, enabling early treatment to prevent disease progression and drug resistance.


Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease, housed within CIDR, solves its landmark 1,000th pathogen protein structure, deciphering structural details about disease agents and informing drug design.

CIDR launches the Single Cell Systems Biology Initiative to understand how small numbers of cells disproportionately influence disease, immune responses and drug efficacy, and to transform the future of infectious disease research.

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