Welcome to the lab, Glenn!

October 18, 2021

GlenThe Ploss lab is delighted to welcome Dr. Glenn Hogan as our newest post doc! Glen received a BPharm degree in 2014 from University College Cork, Ireland and an MPharm degree in 2015 from the Royal College of Surgeons. After completing an internship in pharmacy at University Hospital Waterford and working as Assistant Research Coordinator at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, he received his PhD from UCC, Ireland for his research on probiotic bacterial trafficking to tumors in the hopes of detecting and treating cancer. We’re excited to have Glen join us and excited to see his work here!

Awesome presentations at MolBio Retreat 2021!

October 10, 2021


The 2021 Annual Molecular Biology Departmental Retreat was held this past weekend at Princeton and we were happy to have three of our lab members present their work!

Robbie gave an oral presentation on “Multi-pathway innate immunity antagonism by Hepatitis E virus ORF1 protein”, Saori presented a poster entitled “Profiling the SARS-CoV2 spike protein interactome using proximity labeling”, and Tomo presented a poster titled “Generation and characterization of genetically and antigenically diverse infectious clones of dengue virus (DENV) serotypes 1-4”.

We all enjoyed learning about their work and the research done by all the labs in our department! We also want to thank the Molecular Biology department and Terry MacFarland for doing preparing a wonderful event!





HBV International Meeting, Toronto 2021

September 30, 2021


This last week Alex, Wei, Stephanie, and Yongzhen attended the HBV International meeting in Toronto, Canada! Alex presided as session chair on advances in models for HBV, Wei presented a poster entitled “Mechanistic dissection of rcDNA to cccDNA conversion in murine cells”, Stephanie presented a poster titled “Mathematical modeling of early hepatitis D virus kinetics in hNTCP transgenic mice”, and Yongzhen presented a poster entitled “Construction and characterization of infectious clones derived from hepatitis B virus infected patients”. They had an awesome time meeting with other HBV scientists in person or virtually and enjoyed all that Toronto has to offer!







Welcome to our newest undergrads!

June 14, 2021

The Ploss lab is excited to welcome SEVEN new undergrads to our ranks!

Already diving in for some summer research are rising seniors Debby Park ‘22, Daniel Beard ‘22, and Mansi Totwani ‘22. It’s been great having their energy in lab and to see how quickly they’re learning the ropes!

Their mentors also have some very nice things to say about them. Stephanie, who’s working with Mansi, says “I’m really enjoying running around with my chickadee and showing her how to become a virus queen!” Yongzhen, who works with Debby, reports that “she is excited after getting her positive cells!” And according to Keith, “Daniel has got some beautiful qPCR results!”

Come September, we’ll also be joined by Maricar Almeda ‘22, Olivia Sakaguchi ‘23, Christine Nguyen ‘23, and Brian Li ’24. See you all soon!

Look at those worker bees getting stuck into their summer research! Lab life feels like it’s gradually getting back to normal!

... Read more about Welcome to our newest undergrads!

Congratulations to our graduating undergrads, Emma and Vrinda!

June 1, 2021

Congratulations and farewell to our graduating seniors, Emma Guare ‘21 and Vrinda Madan ‘21! Despite a challenging year of COVID restrictions, these two superstars went above and beyond to complete their senior theses and contribute remotely to ongoing research in the lab. It comes as no surprise that both these ladies are preparing for exciting new adventures in the fall. Emma will be attending Penn State College of Medicine and Vrinda will be attending Johns Hopkins School of Medicine!

We’ll all miss you both very much, and we thank you both for your perseverance, adaptability and hard work. Good luck with your next steps!


Images from Princeton University’s Virtual Class Day, featuring some of their work in the Ploss lab!

Alex wins top pitch at BioNJ BioPartnering Conference!

May 21, 2021

BioNJCongratulations to Alex, who was recently awarded first place at the BioNJ Company and Pitch Presentation Competition! Held as part of BioNJ’s 11th Annual BioPartnering Conference, and in partnership with JP Morgan and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the competition allowed life scientists and entrepreneurs from across the US to present work from their companies and start-ups.

As president of Acurasset Therapeutics, Alex pitched the start-up’s efforts to develop small-molecule therapeutics against HBV infection.

Princeton’s press release can be found here. And a full press release from BioNJ can be read here.

Michael awarded an HMEI-STEP fellowship!

May 18, 2021

MichaelCongratulations to Michael Schwoerer, who has been named an HMEI-STEP fellow by the High Meadows Environmental Institute!

The fellowship, which supports projects that investigate environmental policy decisions, is designed for graduate students to pursue a two-year certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy. To this end, Michael will be exploring how insect-specific viruses, such as Musca domestica, can be used to target invasive insect species as an alternative to chemical and biology pest control strategies.

Michael says that he is “extremely excited to leverage the Ploss lab's broad virological expertise to develop policy solutions for this pressing environmental issue!”

A full press release can be found here.

Ploss lab receives grant from Center for Health and Wellbeing!

May 1, 2021

The Ploss lab is happy to announce we have received a grant titled “Combatting fetal-maternal mortality caused by enterically transmitted viral hepatitis” from the Center for Health and Wellbeing, for Michael Schwoerer’s work with hepatitis E virus!

Infection with hepatitis E virus (HEV) has presented a trenchant threat to global health and wellbeing for decades, with annual infections in the tens of millions. HEV infection poses a particularly deadly risk to pregnant women, with mortality rates of nearly 30%. In collaboration with the MacMillan lab, Michael aims to identify host factors that are essential for the life cycle of this virus. Results from this work hold promise to define novel targets and will highlight new, more effective intervention strategies for treating patients afflicted by this dreadful disease.

Yongzhen and Stephanie publish review on HBV animal models!

April 28, 2021

Why has it historically been so difficult to study hepatitis B virus (HBV)? Which animals can be infected? What blocks interspecies transmission? How have scientists tried to overcome these challenges, and how close are we to developing a cure for HBV infection?

If these questions interest you, check out the Ploss lab’s newest review paper, “Animal Models of Hepatitis B Virus Infection-Success, Challenges, and Future Directions,” published in Viruses. In this review, Yongzhen Liu and Stephanie Maya explain why so few animals can be used to study HBV, and how researchers have creatively overcome this challenge by developing surrogate animal models like human chimeric mice.

Considering that more than 250 million people suffer from chronic HBV infection worldwide, this review is not to be missed!

How to build your very own a human chimeric mouse for studying HBV!

Alex delivers keynote lecture at Schaller symposium

April 23, 2021

On April 22nd, 2021, Alex gave a keynote lecture at the first international Schaller Virology e-Symposium, hosted by the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation. His talk was titled “The making of a killer: new insights in the molecular mechanism of hepatitis B virus persistence.”

Says Alex, “It has been a great pleasure and honor to present some of our work at a symposium named after Heinz Schaller, one of the key figures in the history of hepatitis B virology. I very much enjoyed interacting with students and postdocs during the (virtual) social hour.”