Skip to content Skip to navigation

Research & Ideas

Search this site

Catherine Blish: Immunology is on the trail of a killer

A globally recognized expert in infectious disease and immunology discusses how her lab quickly remade itself to study the virus behind COVID-19.

A rendering of two hands reaching toward each other, one with pink particles covering it, and the pink particles spreading to the second hand

How can we end the pandemic for good? | Stocksy/Colin Anderson

As she tells it, the life of immunologist Catherine Blish has not changed all that much from what it was just a couple months ago.

Her lab still studies deadly infectious diseases, but instead of myriad killers like HIV, dengue fever, influenza and the like, her team is now focused solely on the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Only a select group of researchers in the world are qualified to work with such serious viruses, and fewer still are properly equipped with the protective gear and sophisticated ventilation systems needed to guarantee the safety in the lab.

Blish recently joined Russ Altman for this special COVID-19 edition of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast, to talk about the unique character of the virus, a few surprises she and others have unearthed in their research, and how once-competitive scientists around the world have united to find treatments and a vaccine that are critical to ending the pandemic for good.