Program Events

M&I 2023 Graduate Student Retreat

We recently hosted our second annual event in March of 2023 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and 32 students attended. Part of the motivation was to encourage social/mental and scientific recovery as we emerge from the isolation and challenges associated with the pandemic. Photos coming soon!

2022 Graduate Student Retreat

We began a new event in 2022, to be held annually, that enables scientific exchange, social connectivity and cohesiveness between our graduate students.  This retreat was held at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and attended by 24 students (May 20, 2022). The retreat focused on both scientific discourse and team building for the current cohort. Students were given significant input into the activities of the day to ensure that it met their needs and expectations. Each student was given the opportunity to share a “lightning talk” describing their ongoing research to their peers, many of whom they had not interacted with in person. 

The retreat also included an alumni career panel composed of scientists across different disciplines and in different career fields (e.g. faculty, directors at biotech companies, data scientists). Discussions around the graduate student handbook also took place at the retreat, and the changes suggested by the student cohort have since been incorporated into the AY22-23 version of the department handbook. Students were also able to plan numerous games and social activities to assist in team building, such as Introduction Bingo, Faculty Fun Facts, and a sandcastle building competition.

M&I Welcome BBQ

This annual event is a M&I tradition, which allows the department to welcome new students to Stanford University, and to M&I. This also allows the incoming class to get to know their peers, as well as the rest of the department. The catered event was held September 20, 2022 on the Alumni Lawn, as we welcomed a class of 6 incoming students- Jasmine Arunchalam, Desmond Edwards, Emma Esterman, Sebastian Somolinos Cedeno, Katie Travisano, and Miles Tuncel.

M&I Department Scientific Retreat 2023
Held October 18-20 at Stanford Sierra Conference Center, Fallen Leaf Lake

M&I Department Scientific Retreat 2022

The  Department of Microbiology & Immunology traditionally holds an annual Scientific Conference, and this past November the conference resumed in person at Asilomar Conference Grounds.  A total of 115 attended, including graduate students, postdocs, scientific staff, and faculty of the Stanford M&I program.
This year’s conference included 19 presentations by students, postdocs, staff, and faculty, two poster sessions, an invited career panel session, and team-building social events.  Talks are given by members in the Microbiology & Immunology community and one to two members of each lab speak and present their research.

First year students use this opportunity to get to know their fellow graduate students, as well as to learn more about faculty and lab research interests.  It allows entering students to familiarize themselves with the wide range of research areas offered in the program, and help them to determine the topic they may want to continue studying for their thesis research.


Student-Hosted Visiting Scientist Series

Once or twice a year, the trainees in the program invite visiting scientists to present a seminar on their work. This is entirely student-organized, with the visiting scientist spending the day with students and postdocs in a series of one-on-one and group meetings, and dinner. Trainees in the M&I Program are required to schedule meetings with speakers and present their work in this forum.  We guide the trainees to invite speakers that represent diversity broadly defined, including a wide range of topics within the realm of host-microbe interaction, race/ethnicity, gender identity, career stage, and more.

For the upcoming academic year, the trainees have selected the following speaker:



Ellen Foxman
(Associate Professor, Department of  Immunobiology, Yale University)  

Previous Visiting Speakers


Tania Rozario (Assistant Professor, Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, University of Georgia); Gretchen Diehl (Adler Chair for Junior Faculty, Immunology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute)


Rachel Dutton (Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, UC San Diego)


Ceaser De La Fuente (Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania)


Andrew Goodman (C.N.H. Long Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis and Director of Microbial Sciences Institute, Yale University); Christoph Thaiss (Assistant Professor of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania)


Manuela Raffatellu (Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UC San Diego); Vincent Racniello (Higgins Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, Columbia University)

Ethics, Science, and Society Course

This is a 3-day/10-hour interactive course taught by Microbiology & Immunology department faculty for any trainees supported by the training grant, as well as those trainees in their 3rd years who are due for a refresher course, which focuses on topics in Rigor & Reproducibility in research. Lecture/discussion topics included “Data Management” and “Collaborative Research” which emphasize best practices and common pitfalls in achieving high quality research.