Maria Pokrovskii

BA, University of Berkleley, 2005

After graduating from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology, I wanted to pursue research dedicated to developing new therapies for persistent diseases. In my first position at Cytokinetics in South San Francisco, CA, I worked as part of a team that identified a small molecule that targeted cardiac muscle myosin as a novel therapeutic for the treatment of heart failure. 

An interest in virus-host interactions and my desire to learn a new field led me to join the Hepatitis C (HCV) biology group at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA. The development of specific drug therapies to combat HCV had been hindered due to limitations on growing the virus efficiently in cell cultures. I was able to generate an adapted HCV that grew 100-fold better in vitro than wild-type HCV. Using this adapted virus, we were able to execute a high-throughput screen of 500,000 small molecules that identified novel anti-HCV compounds that hit all aspects of the viral life cycle.

Currently, as a PhD student in the Littman Lab, I am interested in studying the development of immune cell populations that lead to autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases. These include T helper 17 and innate lymphoid cells. 

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Publications:

1. Xu, M., Pokrovskii, M., Ding, Y., Yi, R., Au, C., Harrison, O.J., Galan, C., Belkaid, Y., Bonneau, R., Littman, D.R. (2018) c-Maf-dependent regulatory T cells mediate immunological tolerance to a gut pathobiont. Nature. 2018 Feb 15;554(7692):373-377.

2. Pokrovskii MV, Bush CO, Beran RK, Robinson MF, Cheng G, Tirunagari N, Fenaux M, Greenstein AE, Zhong W, Delaney WE 4th, Paulson MS. Novel mutations in a tissue culture adapted hepatitis C virus strain improve infectious virus stability and markedly enhance infection kinetics. J Virology. 2011 Apr;85(8):3978-85. Epub 2011 Feb 2. 

3. Malik FI, Hartman JJ, Elias KA, Morgan BP, Rodriguez H, Brejc K, Anderson RL, Sueoka SH, Lee KH, Finer JT, Sakowicz R, Baliga R, Cox DR, Garard M, Godinez G, Kawas R, Kraynack E, Lenzi D, Lu PP, Muci A, Niu C, Qian X, Pierce DW, Pokrovskii M, Suehiro I, Sylvester S, Tochimoto T, Valdez C, Wang W, Katori T, Kass DA, Shen YT, Vatner SF, Morgans DJ. Cardiac myosin activation: a potential therapeutic approach for systolic heart failure. Science. 2011 Mar 18;331(6023):1439-43. 

4. Chan K, Cheng G, Beran RKF, Yang H, Appleby T, Pokrovskii MV, Mo H, Zhong W, Delaney WE. An adaptive mutation in NS2 is essential for efficient production of infectious 1b/2a chimeric hepatitis C virus in cell culture. Virology. 2012 Jan 20;422(2):224-34.

5. Cheng G, Chan K, Yang H, Corsa A, Pokrovskii M, Paulson M, Bahador G, Zhong W, Delaney W 4th. Selection of clinically relevant protease inhibitor-resistant viruses using the genotype 2a hepatitis C virus infection system. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 May; 55(5):2197-205.