Richard R. Tidwell, Ph.D.


Kenan Distinguished Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Director, Consortium for Parasitic Drug Development or CPDD
Director, Center for Translational Research in Tropical Diseases

Research Interests

Dr. Tidwell’s research is focused on the design and synthesis of new drugs for the treatment of neglected diseases. The rationale for design of new drugs is directed at determining the mechanisms of action, antimicrobial activity, and pharmacokinetics of dicationic or arylimidamide molecules. These studies have yielded numerous patents, making him one of the leaders in cutting edge research within the university.

In 2000, Dr. Tidwell was awarded $15.1 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop new drugs to fight human African trypanosomiasis or HAT (sleeping sickness) and leishmaniasis, two diseases that are killing and infecting millions of people in developing countries. The five year grant brought together a consortium of some of the world’s top experts in drug development and delivery from UNC-Chapel Hill, Georgia State University, the University of Glasgow, Ohio State University, the Swiss Tropical Institute, and the Kenya Trypanosomiasis Research Institute among others. cmpdsDuring this initial funding period the Consortium for Parasitic Drug Discovery (CPDD) discovered and developed DB289 (pafuramidine), the first orally active drug and the first new drug in the last 50 years for the treatment of early stage HAT. In order to expand upon the wealth of information obtained through this first grant, the Center for Translational Research on Tropical Diseases (CTRTD) was formed at UNC with Dr. Tidwell serving as director.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the CPDD with two additional grants in 2006 ($22.5 and $21.2 million) in order to continue the search for effective and inexpensive drugs to treat leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis.

Additional Roles

Dr. Tidwell currently serves the following roles at UNC-CH:

  • Member, UNC-CH Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)
  • Member, UNC-CH Advisory Board for the Centers for Infectious Diseases
  • Member, Carolina Center for Radical Drug Development Advisory Board
  • Member (voting), UNC-CH Biomedical Internal Review Board
  • Chairman of the Advisory Board, Absorption Distribution Metabolism and Elimination Mass Spectrometry Center, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Member, Dean's Research Advisory Council

  • He also serves the following roles for these national and international organizations:

  • Representative for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Initiative on Public-Private Partnerships for Health (IPPH)
  • Member, World Health Organization Managers-Partnerships for Product Development, Manager of Drug Development, Preclinical and Clinical Studies
  • Member, Treatment and Drug Resistance section for the World Health Organizations Scientific Working Group on African Trypanosomiasis, Partnership for Neglected Global Health
  • Member, GlaxoSmithKline Committee for Drug Discovery for Trypanosomatid Diseases
  • Consortium for Parasitic Drug Development

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