The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics

CIDD is a "virtual" center bringing together theoreticians and empirical scientists in a wide variety of disciplines to collaborate and innovate in the area of infectious disease research.

An interdisciplinary approach

CIDD integrates genetic, immunological, ecological and other studies to understand how disease processes work, and how they inter-relate across scales:

    •    from the sub-cellular to the meta-population level
    •    from ecological to evolutionary timescales

CIDD research ranges from investigating development of disease agents within hosts, to characterizing and predicting their spread through populations in time and space.

CIDD fosters productive interactions in research, education and outreach

CIDD researchers actively seek to collaborate across disciplines

CIDD organizes workshops and seminars to bring together world leaders in infectious disease, with an emphasis on working across the boundaries of traditional scientific fields

CIDD teaching stresses the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach


The diversity of expertise in CIDD, and the close working relationships we foster, mean that we share information and ideas in innovative and productive ways.
Investigation of key biological questions

Our research addresses issues of fundamental importance in biology. For instance:

    •    Many disease agents have a sufficiently short generation time that ecological and evolutionary dynamics operate on similar timescales. Consequently, host-parasite relationships provide a tractable system for investigating key questions in population and evolutionary biology.
    •    Though their interactions with host immunity are complex, some disease agents have small enough genomes that we can begin to dissect the molecular basis of important large-scale phenomena such as species barriers to transmission and herd immunity.

By collaborating across different disciplines, CIDD researchers cast important biological problems and processes in useful new lights.

Application to disease management and control

Infectious diseases have an immense impact on human health, agriculture and conservation. CIDD research has considerable relevance to management and control of pressing disease issues such as disease emergence, bio- and agro-terrorism and epidemic control strategies.


Researchers aim to eliminate malaria in Southeast Asia
Researchers at Penn State have received more than $1 million in first-year funding from the National Institutes of Health to investigate malaria transmission in Southeast Asia with a goal of working toward the disease's elimination in the region. They will receive up to approximately $9 million over seven years for this project.
Moriah Szpara, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. Credit: Penn State
Moriah Szpara awarded Priscilla Schaffer Memorial Award
Moriah Szpara, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, has been awarded the Priscilla Schaffer Memorial Award by the 2017 International Herpesvirus Workshop selection committee.
Penn State develops first-of-a-kind model to research post-malaria epilepsy
A first-of-its-kind mouse model could lead to an understanding of how cerebral malaria infection leads to the development of epilepsy in children, and to the prevention of seizures.