Center for Infectious Disease Research 


From humble beginnings as a small laboratory in Issaquah, Washington with an initial staff of five and a budget of only $17,000, the Center for Infectious Disease Research has become the world’s largest center focused solely on infectious disease research. Our mission is to make transformative scientific advancements that lead to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. We focus our science on the three areas of infectious disease research that will have the greatest impact on global health: vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. 

Fast Facts
  • 40-year-old nonprofit
  • Nearly 300 employees from over 20 countries
  • Over 140 collaborators in 25 countries
  • 14 principal investigators
  • Over 100 active research projects

The Center's singular focus on global infectious diseases and its integration of systems biology uniquely positions us in the fight against infectious diseases. The systems biology approach hastens the progress of discovery, leading to critical, life-saving advancements for infectious disease research sooner. 

Our missions continues to reflect our three tenets: the people who are both affected by and fighting the disease; the cutting-edge science developing future interventions; and the hope derived from our research and the potentiality of global health. 

We are a place for people, science, and hope. 

Mission Statement
To make transformative scientific advancements that lead to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
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Center for Infectious Disease Research
307 Westlake Ave N Ste 500 
(206) 256-7200 

Alan Aderem, PhD 
President & Director 


Center for Infectious Disease Research Programs

Laboratory Research
Our research stems from a deep understanding of pathogen biology, the human immune system, and the interactions between them. We seek to overcome the grand challenges of infectious disease research, which prevent the development of vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics from moving forward. Through pursuing our goals un-siloed by disease archetype, we are achieving science on a grand scale. We pioneered systems biology approaches to understand the complexity in biology, applied these approaches in the context of innate immunity, and are currently applying systems biology approaches to the host-pathogen interfaces we study. 

Education & Training
Education and training is an integral part of the Center's mission. Some of our training opportunities include:   
  • Through hands-on learning experiences, our BioQuest science education program propels high school students into the real world of science.
  • The Global Health Internship Program provides an opportunity for highly qualified undergraduate interns to work side-by-side with our researchers.
  • Select graduate students have the opportunity to perform their thesis work at the Center, and further training in our Postdoctoral Program is available for scientists who've recently received their doctoral degrees.  

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Notable Achievements
  • We discovered RNA editing
  • Identified agents capable of killing TB
  • Developed a malaria vaccine candidate currently in human clinical trials
  • Sequenced 3 parasite genomes
  • Created a revolutionary vaccine candidate for HIV/AIDS

We are proud of our progress. But for the 14 million people who died last year from these diseases, progress was not enough. Just as was the case 40 years ago, there are still no vaccines to prevent or drugs to treat most of these infectious diseases. This is not only tragic; it is unjust. 

How You Can Help
Funding for infectious disease research remains stagnant, and public awareness is almost nonexistent. Scientific projects at the Center depend entirely on external funding. Support for our research may not only alter the health of the world, but the prosperity of its poorest nations. 

A vaccine for just one of the diseases we work on would save 15 million lives in the coming decade. That’s 15 million healthy people who get an education, have a job, and contribute to the global economy. It’s 15 million more people contributing to a socially and politically stable world. Become the cure. 


Through its BioQuest program, Center for Infectious Disease Research works with students and teachers from across the Northwest to inspire a new and diverse generation of students to pursue college and careers in biomedical research and global health. BioQuest is host to the only dedicated industry-based lab in the Puget Sound region where a full high-school class (32 students) can work together in an authentic, hands-on research environment. BioQuest offers students a rich and progressively sophisticated continuum of learning experiences, from introductory lab experiences and job shadows to the intensive BioQuest Academy training program, to internships at Center for Infectious Disease Research.

Use of Best Practices
Center for Infectious Disease Research leads the Washington Global Health Alliance Ambassador program, which has developed a standards-based interdisciplinary strategy to prepare students for college and global biomedical careers. This approach is being piloted at four local high schools (including Seattle’s Cleveland HS and Highline’s HS3 school) and will be disseminated to more than 70 schools in partnership with the Washington Math, Science and Engineering (MESA) program.

BioQuest works with a wide range of community partners to support its outreach to underserved students, e.g., Rainier Scholars, the YMCA Black Achievers Program, and the College Success Foundation. The organization also partners with the University of Washington to ensure that BioQuest alumni are connected to the financial and mentoring support they need to succeed in college.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
BioQuest programs are offered at no cost to the teachers and students and BioQuest reimburses the school districts for any expenses related to their participation in the program such as buses and substitute teachers.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

12/10/2008 $10,000.00support general operating expenses and the purchase of equipment for the BioQuest program.
12/14/2006 $20,000.00support general operating expenses and the purchase of audio equipment for the BioQuest program.


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