David S. Weiss, PhD


Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center

Associate Professor

Infectious Diseases

Phone: 404-727-8214

Email: david.weiss@emory.edu

Research Interests

Our lab is focused on understanding the ways bacteria resist antibiotics as well as the host immune system during infection. We primarily study the highly antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterobacter cloacae.

Our research is focused on resistance to the last-line polymyxin antibiotics which are now increasingly used to treat Gram-negative bacteria that are refractory to all other antibiotics. Unfortunately, resistance to the polymyxins has emerged and is also increasing. We have identified several novel genes that contribute to polymyxin resistance in diverse bacteria, elucidating their mechanisms of action. Furthermore, we have shown that the development of resistance to the highly cationic polymyxins in treated patients leads to cross-resistance to cationic host antimicrobial peptides. This raises the possibility that clinical treatment with polymyxins may in some cases select for bacteria with increased virulence.

With the new knowledge gained from these studies, we aim to block antibiotic resistance mechanisms and restore the utility of these drugs.