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David A. Relman

Academic Appointments

  • Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Key Documents

Contact Information

  • Clinical Offices
    VA Palo Alto Health Care System 3801 Miranda Ave Ste 154T Bldg 101 Rm B4 185 Palo Alto, CA 94304
    Tel Work (650) 852-3308 Fax (650) 852-3291
  • Academic Offices
    Personal Information
    Not for medical emergencies or patient use


Clinical Focus

  • Infectious Disease

Administrative Appointments

  • Co-Director, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University (2013 - present)
  • Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University (2013 - present)
  • Chief, Infectious Diseases, VA Palo Alto Health Care System (2002 - present)
  • Chair, Administrative Panel on Biosafety, Stanford University (2001 - present)

Honors and Awards

  • Member, Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science (2011-)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010)
  • Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor, Stanford University (2009-)
  • Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (2006)
  • NIH Director's Pioneer Award, NIH (2006)
  • Kinyoun Lecturer, NIAID/NIH (2005)
View All 9honors and awards of David Relman

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, Committee on Science, Technology and Law, National Academy of Science (2012 - present)
  • President, Infectious Diseases Society of America (2012 - 2013)
  • Chair, Forum on Microbial Threats, Institute of Medicine (National Academies of Science) (2007 - present)
  • Member, Science, Technology, and Engineering Advisory Panel, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2007 - present)
  • Member, National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (2005 - present)

Professional Education

Fellowship: Massachusetts General Hospital MA (1986)
Internship: Massachusetts General Hospital MA (1986)
Fellowship: Stanford University School of Medicine CA (1988)
Residency: Massachusetts General Hospital MA (1985)
Board Certification: Infectious Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine (1988)
Board Certification: Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine (1985)
View All 9

Community and International Work

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My primary research focus is the human indigenous microbiota (microbiome), and in particular, the nature and mechanisms of variation in patterns of microbial diversity within the human body as a function of time (microbial succession), space (biogeography within the host landscape), and in response to perturbation, e.g., antibiotics (community robustness and resilience). One of the goals of this work is to define the role of the human microbiome in health and disease. We are particularly interested in measuring and understanding resilience in the human microbial ecosystem. Our work includes the human oral cavity, gut, and female reproductive tract, as well as an analysis of microbial diversity in marine mammals. This research integrates theory and methods from ecology, population biology, environmental microbiology, genomics and clinical medicine.

During the past few decades, my research directions have also included pathogen discovery and the development of new strategies for identifying previously-unrecognized microbial agents of disease. This work has included the use of host gene expression response patterns to recognize and understand early stages of systemic infection. Currently, we are examining genomic patterns of host response in dengue fever and in cases of undiagnosed febrile illness, for diagnostic and prognostic purposes, as well as to understand better disease mechanism.




Graduate and Fellowship Program Affiliations



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