Wes Van Voorhis, MD, PhD
Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Adjunct Professor
Department of Microbiology
Director, Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases (CERID)

Faculty Information


Dr. Van Voorhis has over 25 years of drug discovery experience, particularly in structure-guided drug discovery. He has worked on pre-clinical drug development for malaria, trypanosomes, leishmania, and cryptosporidium.  In addition, he works extensively in target-based drug development and, where possible, uses iterative structure-based drug development.

He has 31 years’ experience as an infectious diseases specialist, and over 25 years’ experience in Drug Development and studies of PD/PK/ADME/ Toxicity/efficacy.

He conducts research, practices medicine and teaches at the UW. 

Education & Training: 
PhD, Immunology
Rockefeller University
New York NY
Cornell University Medical College
New York NY
Resident in Internal Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco CA
Fellowship in Infectious Diseases
University of Washington Medical School and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle WA
President, Western Society for Clinical Investigation
Science in Medicine Lecturer, University of Washington
President, Western Association of Physicians
Mayo Soley Award for Research Excellence, Western Association of Physicians
Searle Scholar
Pew Biomedical Scholars
(206) 543-2447
Mailing Address: 

750 Republican Street, Room E-606, Seattle, WA 98109-4766

Research & Clinical Interests
Research Interests: 

There is a great need for new drugs for parasitic diseases, such as malaria, cryptosporidiosis, African Sleeping Sickness, Chagas' disease, and leishmaniasis. Each year, these diseases sicken or kill over 200 million people. Though some pharmaceutical companies devote some research effort to discover drugs to cure some of these diseases there is little done given the need; the people with these parasitic diseases have little money to pay for medicine. Wes's research group uses emerging knowledge about the genomes of these parasites to aid in rational drug discovery.

His group is also involved in discovering the molecular targets of cell-active compounds that are potential drugs. They have discovered promising anti-parasitic compounds, based on enzymatic targets from the genomes of these parasites, that show great promise as drug leads. Some of the most promising compounds are inhibitors that block kinases necessary for parasite growth. The group uses structure based drug discovery, in collaboration with X-ray crystallographers and chemists, and pharmacokinetic and toxicology information from the laboratory, to optimize compounds to become drug candidates for clinical development.

Current research topics, available to trainees include investigating the biology and lethality of inhibitors potential drug targets such as malaria, tuberculosis, and cryptosporidiosis protein kinases and AA-tRNA synthetases, developing new high-throughput screens,and working closely with chemists and pharmacologists to progress compounds to pre-clinical compounds.



Hulverson MA, Bruzual I, McConnell EV, Huang W, Vidadala RSR, Choi R, Arnold SLM, Whitman GR, McCloskey MC, Barrett LK, Rivas KL, Scheele S, DeRocher AE, Parsons M, Ojo KK, Maly DJ, Fan E, Van Voorhis WC, Doggett JS. Pharmacokinetics and In Vivo Efficacy of Pyrazolopyrimidine, Pyrrolopyrimidine and 5-Aminopyrazole-4-Carboximide Bumped Kinase Inhibitors against Toxoplasmosis. J Infect Dis. 2018 Nov 13. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy664. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30423128. {Original Research}

Nachipo P, Hermann D, Quinnan G, Gordon MA, Van Voorhis WC, Iroh Tam PY. Evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and efficacy of clofazimine in cryptosporidiosis (CRYPTOFAZ): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2018 Aug 23;19(1):456. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-2846-6. PubMed  PMID: 30139372. {Original Research}

Dumais M, Davies DR, Lin T, Staker BL, Myler PJ, Van Voorhis WC. Structure and analysis of nucleoside diphosphate kinase from Borrelia burgdorferi prepared in a transition-state complex with ADP and vanadate moieties. Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun. 2018 Jun 1;74(Pt 6):373-384. doi: 10.1107/S2053230X18007392.  Epub 2018 May 31. PubMed PMID: 29870023; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5987747 {Original Research}

Golkowski M, Perera GK, Vidadala VN, Ojo KK, Van Voorhis WC, Maly DJ, Ong SE.  Kinome chemoproteomics characterization of pyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrazoles as potent and  selective inhibitors of glycogen synthase kinase 3. Mol Omics. 2018 Feb 12;14(1):26-36. doi: 10.1039/c7mo00006e. PubMed PMID: 29725679; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5939582. {Original Research}

Lee S, Ginese M, Beamer G, Danz HR, Girouard DJ, Chapman-Bonofiglio SP, Lee M, Hulverson MA, Choi R, Whitman GR, Ojo KK, Arnold SLM, Van Voorhis WC, Tzipori S.  Therapeutic Efficacy of Bumped Kinase Inhibitor 1369 in the Acute Pig Model of Cryptosporidium hominis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2018 Apr 16. pii: AAC.00147-18. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00147-18. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29661877. {Original Research}