Jonathan Ploski

Associate Professor - Behavioral and Brain Sciences
BSB 10.534
Faculty Page
Tags: Cognition and Neuroscience

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Biomedical Science
Mount Sinai School of Medicine - 2004
B.S. - Biological Sciences
University at Buffalo - 1998

Research Areas

Research Interests

Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. While each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear. Currently the neurobiological basis for these disorders remains poorly understood and treatments for these disorders remain inadequate. Therefore research in my laboratory focuses on identifying the molecular and biochemical mechanisms that contribute to the development of fear and the maintenance of fear.

Collectively my laboratory utilizes a myriad of molecular, biochemical and behavioral approaches to study learned fear (cue-induced anxiety) and innate fear. In particular we manipulate gene expression within the rodent brain utilizing recombinant viruses to establish respective roles for individual genes/proteins in neural plasticity, memory formation and anxiety.


Partin A.C., Hosek M.P., Luong J.A., Lella S.K., Sharma S.A., Ploski JE (2013). "Amygdala nuclei critical for emotional learning exhibit unique gene expression patterns." Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2013 Sep;104:110-21. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2013.06.015. Epub 2013 Jul 2. 2013 - Publication
Ploski J.E., Monsey M.S., Nguyen T., Dileone R.J., Schafe G.E. (2011) The neuronal PAS domain protein 4 (Npas4) is required for new and reactivated fear memories. PLoS One. 6(8):e23760. Epub 2011 Aug 22. 2011 - Publication
Ploski JE, Park KW, Ping J, Monsey MS, Schafe GE (2010) Identification of plasticity-associated genes regulated by Pavlovian fear conditioning in the lateral amygdala. J Neurochem 112:636-650. 2010 - Publication
Overeem KA, Ota KT, Monsey MS, Ploski JE, Schafe GE (2010) A role for nitric oxide-driven retrograde signaling in the consolidation of a fear memory. Front Behav Neurosci 4:2. 2010 - Publication
Ploski JE, Topisirovic I, Park KW, Borden KL, Radu A (2009) A mechanism of nucleocytoplasmic trafficking for the homeodomain protein PRH. Mol Cell Biochem 332:173-181. 2009 - Publication
Ploski JE, Park K, Schafe GE, Identification of genes induced by fear conditioning in the lateral amygdala. Program No. 294.7, Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Washington, DC: Society for Neuroscience, 2008 2008 - Publication
Gourley SL, Wu FJ, Kiraly DD, Ploski JE, Kedves AT, Duman RS, Taylor JR (2008) Regionally specific regulation of ERK MAP kinase in a model of antidepressant-sensitive chronic depression. Biol Psychiatry 63:353-359. 2008 - Publication
Ota KT, Pierre VJ, Ploski JE, Queen K, Schafe GE (2008) The NO-cGMP-PKG signaling pathway regulates synaptic plasticity and fear memory consolidation in the lateral amygdala via activation of ERK/MAP kinase. Learn Mem 15:792-805. 2008 - Publication
Ploski JE, Pierre VJ, Smucny J, Park K, Monsey MS, Overeem KA, Schafe GE (2008) The activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein (Arc/Arg3.1) is required for memory consolidation of pavlovian fear conditioning in the lateral amygdala. J Neurosci 28:12383-12395. 2008 - Publication
Ploski JE, Schafe GE, Gene expression analysis of long-term potentiation in the lateral amygdala. Program No. 91.8/RR29, Neuroscience Meeting Planner. San Diego, CA: Society for Neuroscience, 2007 2007 - Publication


Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [2010–Present]
Associate Research Scientist
Yale University [2009–2010]
Postdoctoral Fellow
Yale University [2006–2009]
Postdoctoral Fellow
Yale University School of Medicine [2004–2006]
Graduate Student
Mount Sinai School of Medicine of NYU [1998–2004]
Research Assistant
Roswell Park Cancer Institute [1997–1998]
Research Assistant
University at Buffalo [1996–1997]

Additional Information

Academic and Professional Honors

Golden Key National Honor Society - 1997

Who’s Who Among Students In American Universities & Colleges - 1997

Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society - 1994

Personal Statement


  • Research Assistant from 6/1997–7/1998 at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Department of Cancer Genetics, Buffalo NY .
  • Graduate Student  from 9/1998–7/2004 at Mount Sinai School of Medicine of NYU, Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, New York NY.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow from 7/2004–8/2006 at Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven CT Advisor: Ronald S. Duman, PhD
  • Associate Research Scientist from 4/2009-5/2010 and Postdoctoral Fellow from 9/2006-3/2009 at Yale University, Department of Psychology, New Haven C


  • Assistant Professor at University of Texas at Dallas, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Richardson, TX from 2011
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor  at Quinnipiac University, Departments of Psychology & Biological Sciences, Hamden CT from 2007
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Program Mentor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine of NYU, New York NY  during Summer 2001 and  Summer 2002
  • Instructor Spring at University at Buffalo, Department of Biological Sciences, Buffalo NY in1997
Technical Expertise

Protein Biochemistry:

  • Purification and manipulation of recombinant proteins, protein interaction studies via pull down assays and co-immunoprecipitation

Molecular Biology:

  • Southern, northern, western blotting, cDNA and genomic DNA cloning and subcloning, transformations, PCR, qRT-PCR, primer design, point and deletional mutagenesis, yeast 2-hybrid system, DNA sequencing, restriction mapping, plasmid and genomic DNA and RNA purification, CHEF gel electrophoresis and FIGE, phage genomic library construction and screening, in vitro transcription/translation, cDNA synthesis,  DNA microarrays, in situ hybridization, RNA amplification, Adeno-Associated virus production

Cell Biology:

  • Cell culture, transient and stable transfections, fluorescence and phase contrast microscopy, siRNA gene knockdown

Behavioral/Surgical (with rats):

  • Stereotaxic survival surgery, cannulation, Pavlovian fear conditioning investigating mechanisms of short and long term memory formation (consolidation and reconsolidation mechanisms), in vivo LTP induction, brain microdissections, in vivo gene knockdown, open field and elevated plus maze anxiety/innate fear tests

Computer Skills:

  • MS Operating systems and Office suite, Endnote, Adobe Photoshop; Sequence analysis using NCBI, ExPASy and Ensembl websites, vector NTI, DNAStar and Clustal W; Structure determination via threading using Swiss Model; 3D protein structure visualization and manipulation using Swiss-PDB viewer, Cn3D, and Mega POV-Ray. DNA microarray analysis using Genespring and Genepix software packagess

News Articles

Ploski, Balsara Chosen for Research Mentoring Awards
Dr. Poras T. Balsara, professor of electrical engineering and associate dean for academic affairs in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, and Dr. Jonathan Ploski, an assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, were recently honored with 2017 Provost Awards for Faculty Excellence in Research Mentoring.

The awards recognize faculty members who guide and support UT Dallas students in their research endeavors. The undergraduate honor has existed since 2013; the graduate award is new this year
Researcher Aims to Update Gene Editing System for Brain Studies
A UT Dallas researcher is taking a new trend in gene editing, called CRISPR/Cas9, and developing ways to make it more flexible and precise for potential use in psychiatric and brain disorders.
Dr. Jonathan Ploski
, assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and his research team recently demonstrated that they could activate time-dependent gene editing in mice brain cells — a function that is triggered by feeding the animals a chemical called doxycycline.


Role of Orphan Nuclear Receptor Nurr1 in Fear Conditioning
- National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship, Grant Number: 1F32MH079560-01A2 [2007–2007]