Princeton IP accelerator funding awarded to Professor Alexander Ploss for yellow fever research

Feb. 6, 2019

Molecular Biology professor Alexander Ploss is among seven researchers to be granted Princeton's IP Accelerator Funding. These are innovations with the potential to benefit society and spur the economy. The funding has been awarded to bridge the gap between laboratory research and the development needed to move promising ideas into the global marketplace.

Princeton’s Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund provides up to $100,000 to faculty-led teams looking to explore ways to make their discoveries and inventions available to the public via licensing, startups or entrepreneurial ventures. The funds enable researchers to conduct proof-of-concept studies, gather additional data, make prototypes or otherwise demonstrate the potential applications of the technology.

“The solutions to some of the greatest problems facing us have come from curiosity-driven university research, and Princeton is at the forefront of innovative exploration in areas ranging from life sciences to artificial intelligence,” said John Ritter, director of technology licensing. “With the resources offered through the Intellectual Property Fund, Princeton provides support that can make the difference between an intriguing laboratory discovery and a major new invention with the potential to transform lives.”

Ploss and his team will receive funding to explore new ways to treat yellow fever using mice with humanized immune systems.

Yellow fever kills thousands worldwide each year. With no antiviral treatment available, new therapies for this mosquito-borne disease are needed. Alexander Ploss and his team have identified an essential factor in the virus’s life cycle when it infects humans. A drug that interferes with the life cycle might prove effective at treating the disease.

With help from the IPA fund, the team will explore ways to inactivate this factor to suppress infection in cell cultures of human liver cells as well as mice that harbor human tissues. The team has a recently devised human immune system mouse model for this purpose. The funds will allow the team to seek sponsors or commercial partners to create a startup company.