Principal Investigator

Dr. Catherine Blish presenting at Immunology's 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2019.

Dr. Catherine Blish
Professor of Medicine

Division of Infectious Diseases & Geographic Medicine

    Dr. Blish is an associate program director of the Stanford MD-PhD program, an investigator of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, Member of Bio-X and Member of Maternal & Child Health Research Institute (MCHRI). 

    She received her B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and a M.D. and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Washington. She performed postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Julie Overbaugh before moving to Stanford in late 2011. 


Stanford CAP Profile


Lab Staff


Clinical and Research

Anne-Maud Ferreira

Anne-Maud got her PhD in Life Sciences, at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), where she worked as part of the GENCODE genome annotation consortium. Her expertise includes bioinformatic analyses of biological high throughput data and algorithmic methods development. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher supervised by Prof. Catherine Blish and Prof. Susan Holmes (Department of Statistics). Anne-Maud develops data analysis tools for data generated in the laboratory and provides statistical support for various projects. In her free time, she likes reading, hiking, and being outdoors to enjoy the sunny Californian weather.


Giovanny J. Martinez-Colon



Giovanny is a biomedical researcher with experience in studying the role of the innate immune system in mounting protective host defenses to both bacterial and viral pathogens. His research mission is to identify strategies to treat and prevent severe infectious diseases. He is currently studying the role of Natural Killer cells in the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In his free time he likes eating, enjoying craft beer, and watching boxing matches.

Rebecca Hamlin

Rebecca is an Infectious Diseases Clinical Fellow at Stanford University and a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Laboratory of Dr. Catherine Blish. Rebecca completed her BA at Pomona College and MD/PhD at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. For her PhD work, she studied human innate immune responses to dengue virus under the mentorship of Dr. Ana Fernandez-Sesma. In the Blish lab, Rebecca plans to study SARS-CoV-2 virology, pathogenesis and immunology by utilizing clinical samples as well as human primary cells and tissue/organoid model systems. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys traveling, hiking, wine tasting, and discovering new restaurants with family and friends


Ruoxi Pi



Ruoxi received her BS in Biological Sciences in Zhejiang University in China, where she conducted research in polyphasic taxonomy in anaerobic bacteria. She received her PhD in Yale University, where she studied the early events of retrovirus infection in animal models. Now in the Blish lab, she is investigating NK cell responses during HIV-1 infection and trying to manipulate the NK cell population to target latently infected cells. Outside the lab, she enjoys hiking and playing her musical instrument.

Makeda Robinson


Makeda is an infectious diseases postdoctoral researcher in the Blish lab. She earned her MD and PhD from Stanford University where she studied immune responses to emerging viruses including dengue and Zika. She is currently studying age-dependent differences in the host immune responses to COVID-19 through the Stanford Innovative Medicines Accelerator program. Outside of the lab, she enjoys music, cooking and reading.


Arjun Rustagi



Arjun is a clinical fellow in infectious diseases and a postdoctoral researcher in the Blish lab. He completed his PhD in the Department of Global Health and MD with Honors at the University of Washington, where his research focus was innate immune signaling and antagonism by HIV. He has been focused on human viral immunology for over a decade, while his clinical experience fostered a particular interest in respiratory infections. He is currently studying the virology, pathogenesis, and immunology of SARS-CoV-2. Outside the lab, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 daughters and playing ultimate frisbee.

Graduate Students

Leslie Chan

Leslie received her AB in Molecular biology at Princeton, where she did her undergraduate thesis research on HBV replication in Dr. Alexander Ploss’s lab.  In the Blish lab, she is interested in studying diverse types of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, and memory NK cells.  Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing frisbee, exploring places with friends, and volunteering on the leadership team of the non-profit, Hatch Tutors.



Izumi de los Rios Kobara



Izumi received her B.S. from MIT in Biological Engineering. There, she completed her thesis research on localized cancer immunotherapies with Dr. Dane Wittrup. In the Blish lab she is interested in studying NK cells in vaccination and influenza recognition. Outside of the lab she enjoys hiking, biking, and climbing in beautiful places.



Maddie Jane Lee



Maddie received her B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she conducted undergraduate research in Dr. Todd Fehniger’s lab. In the Blish lab, she is studying natural killer cells in the context of pediatric HIV. Outside the lab, she enjoys cooking, listening to podcasts, and playing board games with her friends.


Kalani Ratnasiri


Kalani received her BA in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from UC Berkeley, where she conducted dengue research in the lab of Dr. Eva Harris. Before graduate school, she spent 2 years working at CZ Biohub, focusing on single-mosquito sequencing to better understand the microbial landscape of mosquitoes. She is co-mentored by both Prof. Catherine Blish and Prof. Purvesh Khatri and her work aims at comparatively understanding the immune response across multiple viral infections. Outside of the lab, she enjoys running, playing soccer and spending time in SF.



Sarah Sackey



Sarah received her B.S in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics from UCLA. Her undergraduate work focused on developing a bioinformatic pipeline to identify promoter/enhancer elements to develop lentivirus based gene therapy options for congenital immunodeficiencies. In the Blish lab, she is interested in developing a method to enhance natural killer cell function and survival. Outside of the lab, Sarah enjoys dancing, watching anime and cooking.


Aaron Wilk



Aaron received his BS in Biology, Chemistry, and Music at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. In the Blish lab, he is using high-dimensional single-cell profiling to study how various innate immune cell subsets protect from, and contribute to, disease pathology in influenza, SIV, and SARS-CoV-2 infections. He is also developing bio-orthogonal transfection techniques for NK cells to facilitate the mechanistic study of the molecules involved in NK cell recognition of target cells. Outside of lab, Aaron enjoys playing the piano, kiteboarding, and making lots of pizza.

Research Assistants

Aimee Beck
Lab Manager

Aimee received her master’s degree in Biotechnology, with an emphasis in stem cell research from California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI) in 2017. She joined Stanford in the Cardiovascular Institute through a grant funded by the California Institutes for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and was hired as an LSRP after completion of her degree. She recently joined the Blish lab as an LSRP2 and is excited to use her skills in cell culture and microbiology to aid in researching the effects of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Her primary skills involve using human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to unmask the mechanisms of genetic diseases. She is currently applying to Physician Assistant School and hopes to use the knowledge she gains in the lab to improve personalized medicine. In her free time, Aimee enjoys spending time with her family and playing volleyball.


Michelle Leong



Michelle received her B.S. in Pharmacology from UCSB, where she conducted bioengineering research in Dr. Arnab Mukherjee’s lab. Along with helping with administrative duties, she works on a variety of experiments with different members in the lab. Recently, Michelle has been working on SARS-CoV-2 research, which includes growing and titering different variants. Outside of lab, she enjoys drinking boba, trying new food, and playing video games.




Kassandra Pinedo



Kassandra received her MD degree from Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico. She is currently working on a variety of experiments with different lab members and also aids our lab manager Thanmayi with lab duties. She is committed to furthering her education and applying to a medical residency program this following year. Outside of the lab, she enjoys traveling, cycling, cooking and spending time with family and furry friend Blue.



Mikayla Stabile



Mikayla Stabile received her BS in Biology from Harvey Mudd College. Outside of lab, she enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.




Lab Alumni

and where they are now

  • Thanmayi Ranganath, Senior Research Manager at Sonoma Biotherapeutics
  • Dr. Geoff Ivison, scientist at Enable Medicine
  • Dr. Nancy Zhao, Postdoctoral Researcher at Genome Institute of Singapore
  • Dr. Julia McKechnie, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Dr. Laura Simpson, Research Scientist at Gilead Sciences
  • Taylor Hollis, Research Assistant for Health Equity Research at Stanford Division of Primary Care and Population Health
  • Rosemary Vergara, MS/ MD Candidate at Western Michigan University
  • Dr. Elena Vendrame, Director of Clinical Research - Virology at Gilead Sciences and Adjunct Clinical Instructor at Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Dr. Mathieu Le Gars, Biomarker Lead for Therapeutic HPV & Prophylactic Polio & SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines at Johnson & Johnson
  • Dr. Lisa Kronstad, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Midwestern University
  • Dr. Susan Canny, Fellow in pediatric rheumatology are Seattle Children’s hospital
  • Dr. Christof Seiler, Assistant Professor at Maastricht University
  • Dr. Nicholas Bayless, Research Scientist at Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Dr. Joanne Lau, Neurology resident at University of California San Diego
  • Dr. Dara Strauss-Albee, Data Science Manager at Stripe
  • Jacob Shahidi, optometry student at the New England College of Optometry
  • Dr. Olivia Hatton, Assistant Professor at Colorado College
  • Dr. Alexander Kay, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Director of the Global TB program, Baylor College of Medicine, based in Mbabane, eSwatini
  • Dr. Emily Liang, Internal Medicine resident at Stanford Hospital
  • Dr. Chin Chen, laboratory manager
  • Camille Roque, medical student at UC Davis
  • Dr. Lindsay Sceats, surgical resident at Stanford School of Medicine
  • Mary Rieck, lab manager for the Bluestone Lab at UCSF
  • Dr. Ozge Dogan, Pediatrics resident at UCSF-Fresno