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. 

Email

Stanford CAP Profile

 

Lab Staff

Postdocs

Clinical and Research

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.

martingj@stanford.edu

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

rehamlin@stanford.edu

 

Ruoxi Pi

Ruoxi received her BS in Biological Sciences in Zhejiang University in China, where she conducted research in polyphasic taxonomy of 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 engineering NK cells to target HIV. Outside the lab, she enjoys hiking and playing her musical instrument.


ruoxipi@stanford.edu

Instructors

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.   

mrobin1@stanford.edu

 

Arjun Rustagi

Arjun is an Instructor in Medicine - Infectious Diseases and a 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 (despite many ultimate-induced orthopedic injuries).

arjun.rustagi@stanford.edu

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 studying NK cells’ antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity response and how this is modulated by viral infection and vaccination.  Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing frisbee, hiking, reading, and volunteering on the leadership team of the non-profit, Hatch Tutors.

 

lchan8@stanford.edu

 

 

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.

 

izumidk@stanford.edu

 

 

Maddie Jane Lee

 

 

Maddie received her B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she discovered her boundless passion for natural killer cells while working in Dr. Todd Fehniger’s lab. Her work in the Blish lab focuses on understanding the NK cell response to COVID-19, utilizing both primary patient samples and replication-competent virus. On the rare occasions that she is not in lab, Maddie spends her time reading, painting, and hanging out with her wonderfully dumb and extremely sweet cat, Minneapolis.

mjanelee@stanford.edu

 

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. 

kalanir@stanford.edu

 

 

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.

ssackey@stanford.edu

 

Research Assistants

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 currently collaborates with lab members on COVID-19 projects, primarily focusing on experiments that involve CyTOF.  She also is responsible for training other lab members on how to operate a CyTOF machine. Aids Mikayla with admin and lab duties. She is committed to furthering her education and applying to a medical residency program this year. Outside of the lab, she enjoys traveling, cycling, cooking and spending time with family and furry friend Blue.

kpinedo@stanford.edu

 

 

Mikayla Stabile

Mikayla Stabile received her BS in Biology from Harvey Mudd College. She currently works on managing lab administration, finances, inventory, and safety. She also collaborates with lab members on an array of projects, most notably COVID-related CyTOF experiments. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. 

 

 

 

Lab Alumni

and where they are now


  • Dr. Aaron Wilk
    , currently finishing MD training in Stanford MSTP
  • Aimee Beck, Lab Manager and Product Development Technician at Scale Biosciences
  • Dr. Anne-Maud Ferreira, current research scientist at Stanford University
  • 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