Georgetown Announces Creation of Center for Infectious Diseases

July 26, 2004

Contact: Emilie Moghadam

Washington, DC – Georgetown University announces the creation of a new, intercampus Center for Infectious Diseases (CID) dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of infectious diseases and how these findings can improve humanity.

“This is a positive development for the Georgetown scientific community and we look forward to the CID’s success,” said David Lightfoot, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and one of the Center’s proponents.  

Building on Georgetown’s commitment to and excellence in infectious disease research, the Center’s main goal is to bring together researchers studying these diseases. The CID’s long-term objectives include developing new chemotherapeutics and vaccines to ease the burden that infectious diseases impose on humanity. 

“The creation of the CID will enhance the research productivity and training environment for scientists at Georgetown and facilitate their ability to obtain external funding through training, center and program project grants,” said Steven Singer, CID co-director.  

Led by Singer, assistant professor of biology; Richard A. Calderone, professor of microbiology and immunology and Paul D. Roepe, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology; the Center brings together over 100 scientists working in the laboratories of more than two-dozen faculty members in 10 different departments on Georgetown’s three campuses.  

“The intent of the CID is to establish a group of Georgetown scientists with common interests in infectious diseases. CID faculty are basic scientists trying to understand why disease occurs working alongside of clinical scientists who diagnose and treat infectious diseases,” said Calderone.  

“Infectious diseases ravage populations throughout the world and are a global burden. Research is critical to developing new vaccines and effective interventions,” added Roepe. “With advances in therapeutics and treatments, millions of lives could be saved, particularly in the third world where infectious diseases prematurely kill the most vulnerable.”  

Additional leadership for the CID comes from an advisory board consisting of representatives from the University’s main, medical and law center campuses.  

“In addition to the research taking place we hope to further draw on the University’s international reputation as a leader in biomedical ethics, public health policy and law by establishing a broader intellectual framework for infectious disease research that recognizes how it must be embedded within policy, ethics and legal considerations,” said Heidi Elmendorf, CID advisory board member and assistant professor of biology.  

Steven Singer is assistant professor of biology and adjunct assistant professor in the Lombardi Cancer Center. He is an expert in immunology and parasitology, particularly the protozoan parasite Giardia lamblia, which replicates in the small intestines of many species of mammals and is a major cause of human diarrheal disease throughout the world. His laboratory focuses on the host’s immune response to the parasite and examines its unusual molecular genetics.  

Richard A. Calderone is professor of microbiology and immunology. His research interests include the recognition of mammalian cells and signaling events by the human pathogen, Candida albicans. His laboratory uses biochemical, immunological and molecular approaches to study these signaling events.  

Paul D. Roepe is associate professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology and serves on the tumor biology program at Lombardi Cancer Center. He is an expert in biochemistry and studies biological membrane transport in cancer, malaria and other diseases. His research strives to better understand how tumors and microorganisms become resistant to drugs so that better therapy can be developed.

About Georgetown University

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses. For more information about Georgetown University, visit