About CIDR

A message from the Director

Welcome to the CIDR web page! Here you will be able to learn about research projects at the Medical College of Wisconsin and at collaborating Institutions centering on understanding how infectious agents cause infection, how the human or animal patient responds to the infection, and how both the infectious agent and infected animal’s response collaborate to cause disease.

CIDR was established in 2002 as the Center for Bioterrorism and Infectious Diseases (CBID) under the leadership of Dr. Dara Frank, Founding Director. Dr. Frank established a core of highly successful investigators whose research focuses on bacterial pathogens, viral pathogens, and parasites. Dr. Frank also established the highly interactive and collaborative nature and culture of CIDR that persists today. CBID was also dedicated to the set up and maintenance of a state of the art Biosafety Level 3 laboratory and development of a select agent research program. Select agents are those of particular concern from the standpoint of potential use as biological weapons. The name of the Center was changed in 2010 to reflect broadening appreciation for the importance of infectious diseases that are caused by organisms that would be difficult to weaponize.

CIDR remains dedicated to fostering collaboration that will lead to new insights into a number of infectious diseases. These insights are essential to formulating strategies to combat infectious diseases, including vaccines and new therapeutic approaches guided by comprehensive understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms of bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Please page through the website to learn more about who we are and what we do.

Thank you for visiting!


Jenifer Coburn, PhD
Director, Center For Infectious Disease Research

Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR)

The mission of the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR), is to enhance research efforts that focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis related to infection with all types of microorganisms, viruses, fungi or parasites. These efforts also include programs to define host factors contributing to disease resistance or susceptibility, host recognition of foreign materials and the innate and adaptive immune responses following exposure to infectious organisms. Overall, the long-term goals are to integrate basic and translational research for the development of new therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostic tests. CIDR also manages the BSL3/ABSL3 laboratory containment core and the Select Agent Research Program at MCW.

Project areas include the study of botulinum toxin, mechanisms of epithelial barrier maintenance and repair, mechanisms of endothelial disruption and traversal by bacterial pathogens, biophysics of bacterial membrane biology, cytokine and chemokine modulation of the intestinal mucosa, opportunistic infections, the emergence of multidrug resistant bacteria, antibody therapeutics, gene regulation of bacterial pathogens, the generation and decay of memory T cells, diagnostics for category A agents and pandemic influenza, drug discovery for unique parasitic aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, characterization of antimicrobial defensins, the role of endogenous microbiota in human health and disease, mucocutaneous infections, behavioral interventions to prevent infectious diseases, epidemiology of C. difficile infection in the Froedtert Hospital enterprise system, and the mechanisms of replication and latency of intracellular pathogens.

Center Director

Jenifer Coburn, PhD
Jenifer Coburn, PhD
Professor, Medicine (Division of Infectious Disease)
Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research
(414) 955-4116 | Fax: (414) 955-6567

Associate Director

Christopher J. Kristich, PhD
Christopher J. Kristich, PhD
Associate Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Medical College of Wisconsin


Center for Infectious Disease Research members have $14,263,874 of active NIH grant funding.

(Total direct & indirect costs, May, 2016)