Dr. Ploss is an Assistant Professor at The Rockefeller University. His research focuses on immune responses and pathogenesis to human infectious diseases, including hepatitis B (HBV) and C viruses (HCV), yellow fever virus and dengue virus. His group combines tissue engineering, molecular virology/pathogenesis, and animal construction, to create and apply innovative technologies for the study and intervention of human hepatotropic infections.
With particular focus on hepatitis C virus, his group uses three independent but possibly complementary approaches to overcome current species barriers and generate a small animal model for viral pathogenesis: 1. Adaptation of HCV genomes to infect hepatocytes of non-human primates, with the long-term goal of a simian tropic HCV strain (stHCV). 2. Humanization of the mouse liver and immune system by transplanting human hematopoietic stem cells or hepatocytes into a single murine recipient, thus allowing studies of pathology, immune correlates, and mechanisms of HCV persistence. 3. Genetic host adaptation to create an inbred murine model for HCV, based on our recent determination of the minimal set of human factors required for HCV entry and our ongoing efforts to identify and overcome additional species restrictions. Through the development and use of these platforms, Dr. Ploss' team aims to shed light on HCV molecular virology, to understand the associated liver disease, and to uncover novel avenues for therapeutic intervention.
Dr. Ploss completed his undergraduate training at the University of Tübingen, Germany in Biochemistry. He earned his Master's degree at the University of Tübingen, Germany including training at the H.E.J. Research Institute for Chemistry in Karachi, Pakistan, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Washington, Seattle, and at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany. He was a fellow of the German National Merit Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes). For his Master's thesis at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, Dr. Ploss was awarded the Association of Biochemists of Tübingen prize for best Master's thesis. Funded by a pre-doctoral fellowship of the Cancer Research Institute Dr. Ploss completed his Ph.D. in Immunology at Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University/MSKCC. His doctoral studies focused on memory immune responses to bacterial infections. Dr. Ploss complete postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University. Dr. Ploss is a recipient of the Kimberly Lawrence Cancer Research Discovery Fund Award.