April Featured CHOP Postdoc

The April Featured CHOP Postdoc is Michael Gonzalez, PhD. Michael is originally from Los Angeles, California, and he received his PhD from Washington State University. Currently, Michael works under the mentorships of Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD, and David Sherry, MD.

Michael has many projects that he is involved in at CHOP. All of them involve the investigation and elucidation of the genetic risk factors underpinning complex disorders. His primary project involves the investigation of amplified musculoskeletal pain syndromes (AMPS), which are a group of chronic pain disorders that can have a significant negative impact on the patients' quality of life. Unfortunately, very little is known of the biological mechanisms underlying the development of these disorders. His lab is using a genome-wide based approach to identify genetic loci associated with these diseases. This allows the discovery of novel genes and biological pathways that may not have been considered previously. They can then use this knowledge to inform current treatment protocols and even develop novel therapeutics for more efficacious treatment. He is also involved in projects investigating Castleman disease, pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS), juvenile myositis, neurofibromatosis, Lynch syndrome, and intellectual disability, among others.

So far at CHOP, Michael's two biggest accomplishments have been receiving the Postdoctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity (CHOP/Penn) and having his abstract selected for a platform presentation at last year's American Society for the Human Genetics conference. For his career, Michael aspires to remain in academia and run his own independent lab one day.

When not working in the lab, Michael will relieve stress by going to the gym. He is part of his gym's "competition team." They do high-intensity crossfit style workouts and compete in local competitions! He also enjoys spending time with his dog, Bailey. The last book he read was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Michael also likes listening to American folk music, especially music that includes the banjo. He currently is listening to Devil is a Lie by Rick Ross and Jay-Z on repeat. If there was any place in the world he could go, Michael would travel to Costa Rica.

When asked why Michael would like to connect or collaborate with other CHOP postdocs, he replied:

"CHOP provides a collection of postdocs from diverse backgrounds, each with unique ways of thinking about complex problems. Approaching a scientific problem from multiple angles and approaches is often the most successful venture, and I believe collaborating and taking advantage of the wealth of experience and knowledge in the CHOP postdoc community would serve to help everyone!"