Alexander Ploss receives Princeton funding for Covid-19 research

Grants, Fellowships and Awards
Posted on April 10, 2020

Alexander Ploss received funding for: "Development of critical reagents to accelerate drug and vaccine development against SARS-CoV-2"

The team aims to develop a version of SARS-CoV-2 that is less dangerous to laboratory workers and that can be safely handled under less stringent safety controls, thus broadening the ability of more researchers to study the virus. The researchers will also evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of certain FDA-approved compounds that have been shown to interfere with the replication of numerous viruses, as well as test a potential vaccine approach. They also will work to establish a humanized mouse model that can be used for preclinical testing of drug and vaccine candidates.

The University’s support for new research against COVID-19 was spurred by a groundswell of requests from faculty, said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, whose office coordinated the application process and the review of the proposals. The funding enables faculty and their teams to address crucial questions in biomedical, health-related and fundamental science, as well as policy, social and economic topics. Projects will receive funding of up to $100,000.

“Many members of the Princeton faculty have reached out with requests for opportunities to use their knowledge, ideas and skills to assist in combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and a professor of chemical and biological engineering. “The quality of the proposals received is a testament to the creativity of our faculty and to their dedication to the common good in this challenging time.”

The seven projects were chosen following a competitive application process with proposals evaluated by a committee of peers. The funding supports the creation of new knowledge rather than production of materials or equipment for clinical purposes, which is being addressed by Princeton’s COVID-19 Response Special Activities and Resources Group. Consideration was given to the unique needs facing the state of New Jersey, as well as the broader needs arising from the pandemic.

Reflecting the immediacy of the situation, researchers must report on their progress after three months, at which time only projects that have made appreciable progress will be allowed to continue.