David Relman, a Stanford microbiologist and professor of infectious diseases, has taken up the mantle as CISAC co-director alongside Stanford law professor Tino Cuéllar, both of whom intend to broaden the center’s research in biosecurity and the life sciences.
Relman, the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor at Stanford’s School of Medicine and chief of infectious disease at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, has advised the U.S. government about pathogen diversity, dual-use technology and biosecurity. He also is the current president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
“The appointment of a life scientist who focuses on infectious diseases and biosecurity is an innovative step for our work in international security and cooperation,” said Gerhard Casper, president emeritus of Stanford University and director of CISAC’s umbrella organization, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
Relman succeeds Siegfried S. Hecker, a nuclear scientist and director emeritus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, who was the CISAC co-director since 2007. One of the world’s foremost experts on plutonium, nuclear weapons and nonproliferation, Hecker is on sabbatical in New Mexico and the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. He is working on a book about his historic efforts to foster collaboration between U.S. and Russian nuclear labs, as well as traveling to meet his nonproliferation counterparts in parts of Europe and Russia.
Hecker will return to CISAC this summer to resume his teaching in the Department of Management Science and Engineering, as well as his writing and research as a senior fellow at CISAC and FSI.