Stanford Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Initiative

An initiative dedicated to studying infection-associated chronic diseases

Mission Statement

To become a center of excellence that improves the health of patients with chronic diseases in which infection or its immune response plays a major etiologic role.

To provide leadership, facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration, make new discoveries, and educate in the field of infection-associated chronic diseases.


Our primary aim is to study the roles that infection and the immune response play in the symptoms of patients suffering from chronic, unexplained diseases.

Recent News

Our deepest sympathies go out to Dr. A. Martin Lerner’s family, loved ones and collaborators. His immeasurable contributions to the field of ME/CFS and his dedication to improve the lives of many patients will forever be remembered by the entire ME/CFS community. Should the need arise for patients in Dr. Lerner’s practice, we will do our best to accommodate new patients without adversely impacting those already in our care and those waiting to be seen. At Stanford and with Dr. Montoya’s leadership, we have a superb team of Physician Assistants willing to see new patients. Please contact (650) 736-5200 to coordinate your Appointment.

Dr. Montoya’s commitment to helping CFS patients was featured in the December 2015 issue of Oprah Magazine. Please click here to access the article.

At the ME/CFS Initiative, we are excited to learn that the NIH is taking steps to follow IOM and NIH P2P’s recommendations of increasing support on extramural research for ME/CFS. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we might be able to improve the understanding of this disease and develop targeted treatment. Please click here to read the official news release.

We are excited to share with you our Spring 2015 Newsletter. In it, you will learn about our accomplishments in the past year, our ongoing research and future endeavors. You can also read a summary of Dr. Montoya’s CDC CFS Patient-Centered Outreach and Communication Activity (PCOCA) Conference Call. Please click here to view. 

On June 18th 2015, Dr. Lily Chu, member of the Stanford ME/CFS Initiative Advisory Board and co-Vice President of the International Association for ME/CFS, will be presenting during the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI) Free Webinar Series. To learn more about speakers, dates and how to join and register, please visit

On February 23rd 2015, Dr. Montoya presented on the Stanford ME/CFS Initiative: Collaboration, Innovation and Discovery, during the CDC Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Patient-Centered Outreach and Communication Activity (PCOCA) Conference Call. Click Here to view the agenda.

Dear Stanford ME/CFS Patients,
Recently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) was charged with the important task to review over 65 years of clinical and research literature on ME/CFS, 9,112 articles in total. Their final recommendations propose new diagnostic criteria (see below), a new name, Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID), and an increase in research funding. In our opinion, these provide the ME/CFS community with a step forward into changing the narrative of the disease and significant progress in ensuring that patients will be properly recognized and supported by their health care providers. We at the Stanford ME/CFS Initiative, echo the message IOM has put forth: this is a complex, multisystemic and crippling illness in much need of multidisciplinary research approach that must always take heed of patients' concerns in order to improve diagnosis and treatment once and for all.
Jose G. Montoya

Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for ME/CFS
Diagnosis requires that the patient have the following three symptoms:
1) A substantial reduction or impairment in the ability to engage in pre-illness levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities, that persists for more than 6 months and is accompanied by fatigue, which is often profound, is of new or definite onset (not lifelong), is not the result of ongoing excessive exertion, and is not substantially alleviated by rest, and
2) Post-exertional malaise,* and
3) Unrefreshing sleep*
At least one of the two following manifestations is also required:
1) Cognitive impairment* or
2) Orthostatic intolerance
*Frequency and severity of symptoms should be assessed. The diagnosis of ME/CFS should be questioned if patients do not have these symptoms at least half of the time with moderate, substantial, or severe intensity.
Excerpt from the IOM Report "Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" 2015.

On February 10th, 2015, the Institute of Medicine released a new report on ME/CFS. For full access to the report, visit

A Stanford Medicine video of Dr. Montoya featured this week in the Washington Post's article on the IOM Report. Watch the video at

Dr. Montoya comments on the IOM ME/CFS report in this article

Dr. Montoya and his research was recently featured in an ABC7 News feature about ME/CFS. Check out the video on the ABC7 website.

Dear Patients, Researchers and Supporters of the ME/CFS Stanford Research, 

The video capture from the 2014 Stanford Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symposium hosted on March 19, 2014 is now available to the public. Please follow this link to access the video from this event. If you find these materials helpful and would like to make a contribution to our research, please click on the "Make A Gift" link on the left hand side of this page.

Your donation will help us continue unraveling the mystery of this debilitating illness.

Kindest regards,

The Stanford ME/CFS Initiative

Randomized clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of valganciclovir in a subset of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. (please note this link will direct you to a webpage unaffiliated with Stanford University)

Persistent human herpesvirus-6 infection in patients with an inherited form of the virus. (please note this link will direct you to a webpage unaffiliated with Stanford University)

Response to valganciclovir in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients with human herpesvirus 6 and Epstein-Barr viru IgG antibdy titers. (please note this link will direct you to a webpage unaffiliated with Stanford University)

If you are a patient with ME/CFS, please visit On this page, you will find information on how to navigate our Website, tips on managing your health, and clinical updates.