UC San Diego Center for Discovery and Innovation in Parasitic Diseases

The Center for Discovery and Innovation in Parasitic Diseases (CDIPD) is an interdisciplinary research center that targets infectious diseases affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but which are largely ignored by traditional drug and vaccine discovery companies because they primarily affect the poor and underserved.

CDIPD Mission and Goals

The focus of CDIPD is on the parasitic organisms that are responsible for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). CDIPD research includes studying the basic biology and biochemistry of these parasites as well as key aspects of the biology of the host-parasite relationship. The team then uses the information gathered from these studies to discover and develop new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines targeting NTDs. Major efforts of CDIDP are in drug discovery and development including translational research to develop drug leads into clinical candidates.

Visit the CDIPD Website

CDIDP Faculty Investigators


Headquarted at the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the CPIPD includes collaborating faculty members from the School of Medicine, Division of Biological Sciences, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Robotic technology is used to screen hundreds of thousands of chemical compounds from a variety of sources — including drugs abandoned by pharmaceutical companies and marine natural products — for their ability to kill more than 10 disease-causing parasites while leaving human cells unharmed. When promising drug precursors are identified, in-house experts computationally and chemically optimize them, and further test the compounds in laboratory experiments and animal models of disease.

CHARM Collaboration Contact: James McKerrow, MD, PhD  (Director of CDIPD)

CHARM ⬌ CDIPD Collaborations

CHARM and CPID each leverage UC San Diego strengths in microbiology, immunology, pharmaceutical sciences, and clinical medicine in their pipelines for innovative antibacterial and antiparasitic discovery. Parallel drug repurposing efforts revealed candidates with surprising broad activity ranging from MRSA to protozoans. Knowledge is being shared from cell based screening platforms, computer-aided drug design, chemical genomics and in vivo imaging


Drugs for Chagas Disease

CDIPD Investigators developed an innovative approach for rapid Chagas disease drug target discovery by using directed evolution in drug-sensitive yeast. Their results confirm that resistance-conferring mutations in yeast can be used to predict both the targeted pathway as well as the compound-binding site of new antiparasitic drug candidates with a high degree of specificity.

Read at ACS Chemical Biology