Antigen presenting molecules play an important role in both innate and adoptive immune responses by priming and activating T cells. Among them, CD1 molecules have been identified to present both exogenous and endogenous lipid antigens to CD1-restricted T cells. The involvement of CD1-restricted T cells in autoimmune diseases and in defense against infectious diseases, however, remains largely unknown. Identifying novel antigenic lipids that bind to CD1 molecules and understanding the role of CD1-restricted T cells should lead to the successful development of vaccines, because the lipids can be used as antigens and also as adjuvants. In this paper, we have constructed functional recombinant human CD1 dimeric proteins and established a competitive ELISA assay to measure the lipid binding to CD1 molecules using the CD1 dimers. By using the competitive ELISA assay, we were able to show that the lipid extracts from murine malaria parasites can actually be loaded onto CD1 molecules. In addition, we have demonstrated that artificial antigen-presenting cells, which consist of magnetic beads coated with CD1d dimer and anti-CD28 antibody, stimulated and expanded human invariant NKT cells as efficiently as autologous immature DCs. A set of the tools presented in the current study should be valuable for screening various CD1 molecule-binding lipid antigens and for isolating CD1-restricted T cells.