David Weiss, PhD

Researcher, Emory National Primate Research Center
David Weiss, PhD

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Assistant Professor
Emory Vaccine Center

Assistant Professor
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine


David Weiss, PhD, is director of the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center, an assistant professor of infectious diseases in the Emory School of Medicine and an Emory National Primate Research Center researcher.

He and his research team seek to understand the ways bacteria resist antibiotics as well as the host immune system during infection. They primarily study the highly antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter cloacae.

Dr. Weiss and his research team focus 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. The team has identified several novel genes that contribute to polymyxin resistance in diverse bacteria, elucidating their mechanisms of action. Furthermore, Dr. Weiss and his research team have also shown 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 knowledge gained from these studies, Dr. Weiss and his research team aim to block antibiotic resistance mechanisms and restore the utility of these drugs.

Dr. Weiss received his Ph.D. degree in Microbiology from New York University in 2004. Working under Dr. Arturo Zychlinsky, he studied how Toll-like Receptors work together to fight bacterial infections. He completed his postdoctoral training at Stanford University under Drs. Stanley Falkow and Denise Monack, studying virulence mechanisms of Francisella and the role of the inflammasome in host defense. He was the recipient of a three-year postdoctoral fellowship from the Giannini Family Foundation.

Visit this link for a June 2016 Bloomberg News article that features Dr. Weiss and his antibiotic resistance research: Superbug Hunters Are Chasing Threats That Know How to Hide.