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

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


Trisha Barnard

Trisha received her BS in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from McGill University. For her Ph.D. research, she studied the effects of evolutionarily-acquired polymorphisms on Zika virus RNA accumulation with Dr. Selena Sagan. In the Blish lab, she plans to study how heterogeneity in viral replication at the single-cell level affects the immune response to coronavirus infection. In her free time, Trisha can probably be found knitting, sewing, baking, or hiking.

Ruoxi Pi

Ruoxi received her BS in Biological Sciences in Zhejiang University in China, where she conducted research in the polyphasic taxonomy of anaerobic bacteria. She received her Ph.D. 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.

Shaun Pienkos

Shaun is a Pulmonary and Critical Care fellow at Stanford. He completed medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia and then moved to Stanford for his residency and fellowship training. While at Stanford, he previously worked on research projects with the Pulmonary Hypertension and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome research groups before joining the Blish Lab. Shaun is motivated by a limited immunological understanding of many pulmonary diseases and critical care syndromes, such as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and will focus on computational methods to answer questions about clinically observed phenotypes at a molecular level. He is co-mentored by Statistics Professor Susan Holmes.


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).

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.



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 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.


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.


Maïgane Diop

Maïgane received her BS in Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in the nematode C. elegans. Now an MSTP student, she is co-mentored by Catherine Blish and Brice Gaudillière, studying immune cells at the maternal-fetal interface and in reproductive organ diseases. Outside of the lab, she enjoys singing/songwriting, playing instruments, learning languages, and tackling challenging recipes.

Research Assistants

Soneida Suzanna Rodriguez

Soneida completed her B.S. in Sociology at the University of Michigan in 2021 where she worked as a cardiovascular laboratory assistant and community organizer. Most recently she graduated with a master's degree in Medical Science from Brown University in 2022. At Brown, she led a quality improvement project at an FQHC, co-organized affordable housing campaigns, contributed to Brown U’ Interviews, and spoke at TEDxBrownU 2022. Currently, she is focused on supporting other lab members' on COVID-19 projects that involve CyTOF. Later, she hopes to study the mechanism and consequences of SARS-COV-2 infection in adipose tissue. In the future, Soneida aims to become an M.D-J.D. and build interdisciplinary healthcare systems that prevent health crises. When she is not in the lab, Soneida enjoys writing, hiking, and public speaking.

Uma Mangalanathan

Uma received her MS in Human Biology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark where her research was focused on developing and optimizing anti-cancer treatment using electroporation techniques. She specializes in molecular and cell biology, electrophysiology & genetics. Before joining the Blish lab, she spent 5 years working as a research associate at Old Dominion University in the field of cell physiology and Biophysics. She currently collaborates primarily on COVID-19 projects, involving CyTOF and BSL3 work, in addition to her lab management duties. Outside work, she enjoys hiking, cooking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Kassandra Pinedo

Kassandra received her MD degree from the 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.



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. 




Undergraduate Students

Marion Santo

Marion is an Undergraduate student pursuing an Honors in BioEngineering. She is currently working on engineering NK cells to help them better target HIV-infected cells under her mentors Catherine Blish and Ruoxi Pi. In her free time, Marion enjoys exploring the city and restaurants with friends, dancing the Argentinian tango, and traveling with the Stanford debate team for competitions within the country and across the world.



Lab Alumni

and where they are now

  • Dr. Makeda Robinson, Principal Scientist, Clinical Research – Translational Medicine Division, Merck & Co.
  • Michelle Leong, CS student
  •  Dr. Giovanny J. Martinez-Colon, scientist at Merck
  • 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