Center for Infectious Disease Research

Dara W. Frank, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics is the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research.

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, including bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. These efforts encompass 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. Our long-term goals are to integrate basic and translational research for the development of new therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostic tests. CIDR manages the BSL3/ABSL3 laboratory containment core and the Select Agent Research Program at MCW. Members of CIDR are from a variety of departments, centers and research institutes at MCW including the Departments of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Medicine, Pediatrics, the Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering and the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.

Project areas focus on the study of:

  • Botulinum toxin structure and function
  • HIV/HTLV pathogenesis and drug abuse
  • Lyme disease pathogenesis and the role of host integrins
  • Mechanisms of host epithelial barrier maintenance and repair
  • Cytokine and chemokine modulation of the intestinal mucosa
  • Hospital-acquired infections
  • The emergence of multidrug resistant bacteria
  • Antibody therapeutics
  • Gene regulation of bacterial pathogens
  • The generation and decay of human memory T cells
  • Diagnostics for category A agents and pandemic influenza
  • Drug discovery for unique parasitic aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases
  • Characterization of antimicrobial defensins and antimicrobial peptides
  • The role of endogenous microbiota in human health and disease
  • Viral replication and assembly
  • Autophagy and its relationship to viral egress
  • Cutaneous infections
  • The mechanisms of replication and latency of intracellular bacterial pathogens