Congratulations to Jenna on her latest publication titled “Conservation of cell-intrinsic immune responses in diverse nonhuman primate species,” published in Life Science Alliance! In this study, Jenna analyzed innate immune responses in fibroblasts derived from a broad panel of nonhuman primate species including five Great Ape, three Old World monkey, and one New World monkey species. It is the broadest panel of nonhuman primate species analyzed for cell intrinsic immune responses to date, and it provides a useful reference for future studies understanding differences in immune responses across species.
Congratulations to Emily, who presented a poster titled “Examining the dynamics of type I interferon-mediated JAK-STAT signaling within the innate immune response” at Cytokines 2019! The conference, held by the International Cytokine and Interferon Society, was held in Vienna, Austria.
Says Emily, “the conference was a great way to meet more scientists studying the complexities of cytokine and interferon signaling, and some of the talks really challenged what has been taken for granted in this field. Plus, Vienna was a beautiful place to explore!”
Alex was jet-setting once again to share our newest work at conferences in Australia and South Korea! His first stop was Melbourne, where he presented talks at two associated conferences: a talk titled “The molecular biology of hepatitis B viruses” at the ICE-HBV In-Vivo Models Workshop on October 1st, and a talk titled “Mouse models based on stem cell-derived hepatocytes” at the 2019 International HBV Meeting (October 1st-5th).
Alex then delivered the Keynote Lecture, titled “Beyond Hepatitis C Virus: Novel Insights into Acute and Chronic Hepatitis Virus Infections,” at the 26th International Symposium on Hepatitis C virus and Related Viruses in Seoul, South Korea on October 7th. Says Alex, "“It was a great pleasure and honor to present our labs’ work at this year’s HCV meeting. The meeting was superbly organized and it was fun to connect with old and new colleagues."
Congratulations are in order for Dr. Lei Wei, who won the highly coveted “Best Talk by Postdoctoral Researcher” prize at the Princeton University Annual Molecular Biology Departmental Retreat this year! His talk, which had the riveting title “Making a murderer – Formation of hepatitis B virus cccDNA”, featured his recent work identifying host factors necessary for the formation of HBV cccDNA.
Congratulations also to Ila, who presented a poster on her work titled “Isocotoin Potently Inhibits Hepatitis E Virus Replication through Interference with Heat Shock Protein 90”!
The retreat was held in the beachside town of Avalon, New Jersey, and the whole lab enjoyed learning about the science happening in our department. We thank the Princeton University Molecular Biology Department, in particular Terry MacFarland, for organizing this consistently wonderful event every year.
Alex has been busy this month promoting the Ploss Lab’s work far and wide! On September 13th, he gave two talks in Japan: the first titled “Deciphering host range restrictions of human viral pathogens” at the 18th Awaji International Forum on Infection and Immunity in Awaji Island, and the second titled “New insights into hepatitis E virus” at the Institute for Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Osaka.
We are very excited to welcome back a familiar face! Jiayu Zhang, who was previously a visiting student in the Ploss lab, has returned as a rotation student this fall! Jiayu completed his M.Sc. in Cell Biology at Zhejiang University School of Medicine in June 2019, and he is now a first-year graduate student in the Princeton University Department of Molecular Biology. He will be continuing his work on yellow fever virus in the Ploss Lab and starting a new project characterizing clinical isolates of dengue virus during his rotation. We are very happy to have him back!
Congratulations to Stephanie for her commentary in Hepatology Elsewhere, titled “Master of disguise: hepatitis delta virus packaging and spread facilitated by diverse viral envelope proteins.” The commentary discusses a recent paper published by Perez-Vargas et al. in Nature Communications, where it was found that HDV can use envelope proteins from viruses other than HBV for packaging. Stephanie’s commentary can be found here.
Congratulations to DOCTOR Jenna Gaska, who on August 29th defended her thesis titled “Molecular determinants of hepatitis C virus species tropism!” Jenna is the second doctoral student to receive her PhD in the Ploss lab, and she graduates with nine publications, plus one currently in review.
We are so proud of Jenna for her work on HCV tropism in vitro, which has led to many interesting discoveries in the field, and for learning bioinformatics (from scratch!) as a tool to analyze RNAseq data. Additionally, Jenna is an excellent editor and writer and has helped Ploss lab members with countless manuscript drafts and grant proposals. We are extremely proud of you, Jenna!
A selected list of Jenna’s publications from the Ploss lab:
Winer BY, Gaska JM, Lipkowitz G, et al. Analysis of host responses to hepatitis B and delta viral infections in a micro-scalable hepatic co-culture system. Hepatology. 2019.
Gaska JM, Balev M, Ding Q, Heller B, Ploss A. Differences across cyclophilin A orthologs contribute to the host range restriction of hepatitis C virus. Elife. 2019.
Gaska JM, Ding Q, Ploss A. Mouse Models for Studying HCV Vaccines and Therapeutic Antibodies. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1911:481-503.
Ding Q, Gaska JM, Douam F, et al. Species-specific disruption of STING-dependent antiviral cellular defenses by the Zika virus NS2B3 protease. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2018;115(27):E6310-E6318.
Douam F, Gaska JM, Winer BY, Ding Q, Von schaewen M, Ploss A. Genetic Dissection of the Host Tropism of Human-Tropic Pathogens. Annu Rev Genet. 2015;49:21-45.
Gaska JM, Ploss A. Study of viral pathogenesis in humanized mice. Curr Opin Virol. 2015;11:14-20.
A warm welcome to Javi, a visiting student from Spain who will be working in the Ploss lab during the fall semester. Javi holds a veterinary degree and currently studies HEV epidemiology at the University of Cordoba. He will be investigating the determinants of HEV tropism in the Ploss lab.
Says Javi, “I am really excited to be in Princeton working with this fantastic group!” (His words, not ours!)
Congratulations to Robbie, Ila, and Alex, who published a review paper describing the current understanding and remaining knowledge gaps on the mechanisms of HEV replication! The publication can be found here.