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External Resources:

Dr. David Gonzalez

Mass Spectrometry Based Drug Discovery

David Gonzalez

David Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine


(858) 822-1218

Research Summary: Antivirulence Strategies

The Gonzalez laboratory aims to study the chemical biology that governs the host-pathogen interaction. In particular, we will focus on combating antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens commonly referred to as super bugs. We aim to identify and characterize key virulence factors and important host immune responses in order to develop strategies for pharmacological development. Discovery of novel sustainable therapeutic agents have not kept pace with the threat that bacterial pathogens pose to mankind. One contributing factor to this innovation gap is the lack of information describing system‐wide bacterial and host chemical responses to environmental perturbations. A better understanding of mechanisms that regulate the balance and communication between host and pathogen cells can lead to the discovery of previously unrecognized therapeutic targets. Our approach will incorporate new technologies in the field of high-end mass spectrometry to accurately detect and quantify proteomic and metabolomic dynamics that occur during the interaction between a bacterial pathogen and different environmental challenges (e.g. host immune cells or competing bacteria). Factors identified during these interactions will be characterized in both unbiased high‐throughput and targeted, hypothesis‐driven fashions, and when the opportunity arises, translational studies of therapeutic value will be undertaken in tissue culture and murine infection models. 

Academic Achievements


B.A. in Chemistry (2006) California State University, San Marcos; Ph.D. (2011) University of California, San Diego; Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Pathogenesis (2011-2014) University of California, San Diego.

Awards and Honors:

UC President’s Postdoctoral Award (2014), IRACDA UCSD Fellowship (2013), A.P. Giannini Medical Fellow (2011), AGEP Fellow (2006), Competitive-edge Predoctoral Award (2006), UCSD STARS Program (2005).

Leadership Experience:

Yale Bouchet Honor Society Inductee for excellent research and commitment to diversity and equality (2010).

Key Contributions to Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • Development of mass spectrometry tools to study specialized molecules of bacterial pathogenesis.
  • Elucidated mechanisms used by multidrug resistant Staphylococcus aureus to clear host microbiome.

Selected Recent Publications (from 20 peer-reviewed articles)

Potential Collaborative Programs with the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Multiplexed quantitative proteomics, metabolomics, and posttranslational modification characterization.

  • Targeting virulence mechanisms as therapeutic targets in leading bacterial pathogens.