Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria

The research focus of Ivan Gonzalez, M.D. is the evaluation of novel de novo engineered cationic antimicrobial peptides for use in the prevention and treatment of infectious microbial pathogens. This area is a hot topic since despite the development of safe and potent antibiotics serious bacterial infections remain a priority. An increasing concern is the emergence of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacteria and their role as opportunistic pathogens. Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa has become particularly important in the setting of immunocompromised, cystic fibrosis, septic, burn and ventilated patients. Due to the significant antibiotic resistance in MDR pathogens, there is a critical need for the development of more effective antimicrobials with unique bactericidal mechanisms to overcome resistance. Researchers have discovered new cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs) for use as new antibacterial agents against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. We are also investigating how to “tether” these peptides to flat surfaces through a chemical linkage. This impregnated biomaterial can potentially prevent foreign body-related infections and wound infections.

In addition, we are investigating how patients with normal and abnormal defense systems respond to vaccines such a pneumococcal and influenza vaccine in order to develop more effective vaccination strategies. These studies are conducted in conjunction with the solid organ transplantation services.