1 RSD13 085 0052a 001

David Relman, MD

  • Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
  • Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Stanford Health Policy Affiliate

CISAC
Stanford University
Encina Hall, E209
Stanford, CA 94305-6165

Biography

David A. Relman, M.D., is the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in the Departments of Medicine, and of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University, and Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California. He is also Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford, and served as science co-director at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford from 2013-2017. He is currently director of a new Biosecurity Initiative at FSI.

Relman was an early pioneer in the modern study of the human indigenous microbiota. Most recently, his work has focused on human microbial community assembly, and community stability and resilience in the face of disturbance. Ecological theory and predictions are tested in clinical studies with multiple approaches for characterizing the human microbiome. Previous work included the development of molecular methods for identifying novel microbial pathogens, and the subsequent identification of several historically important microbial disease agents. One of his papers was selected as “one of the 50 most important publications of the past century” by the American Society for Microbiology.

Dr. Relman received an S.B. (Biology) from MIT, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and joined the faculty at Stanford in 1994. He served as vice-chair of the NAS Committee that reviewed the science performed as part of the FBI investigation of the 2001 Anthrax Letters, as a member of the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity, and as President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He is currently a member of the Intelligence Community Studies Board and the Committee on Science, Technology and the Law, both at the National Academies of Science. He has received an NIH Pioneer Award, an NIH Transformative Research Award, and was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2011.

publications

Journal Articles
December 2022

Strengthen Oversight of Risky Research on Pathogens

Author(s)
Strengthen Oversight of Risky Research on Pathogens
Policy Briefs
December 2018

Editing Biosecurity: Needs and Strategies for Governing Genome Editing

Author(s)
Editing Biosecurity: Needs and Strategies for Governing Genome Editing
Journal Articles
July 2017

On Defining Global Catastrophic Biological Risks

Author(s)
On Defining Global Catastrophic Biological Risks

In The News

Mutating virus variant and cell mutation variants as a health risk concept and new coronavirus outbreak or covid-19 viral cells mutations and influenza background as a 3D render.
News

Stanford Researchers Recommend Stronger Oversight of Risky Research on Pathogens

In Science magazine, Stanford researchers Megan Palmer and David Relman are among co-authors recommending a reset of U.S. and global policy to address the gaps and challenges of current guidance.
Stanford Researchers Recommend Stronger Oversight of Risky Research on Pathogens
Man smiling
News

Scientists battle over the ultimate origin story: Where did the coronavirus come from?

Stanford University microbiologist David A. Relman said the political climate last year made many scientists hesitant to express openness to the lab-leak idea. They did not want to align themselves with a theory closely associated with Trump and his allies, who referred to the coronavirus as “the China virus.”
Scientists battle over the ultimate origin story: Where did the coronavirus come from?
Researchers examine medical vials
Commentary

5 Questions: David Relman on Investigating Origin of Coronavirus

Microbiologist David Relman discusses the importance of understanding how the coronavirus emerged.
5 Questions: David Relman on Investigating Origin of Coronavirus
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