firc institute of molecular oncology

Michael Ploug

Michael Ploug

Group Leader at Finsen Laboratory,
Rigshospitalet and Biotech Research & Innovation Centre

Michael Ploug received his PhD in 1986 and dr.scient. in 2003 from University of Copenhagen for his work on structure-function relationships in the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) performed at the Finsen Laboratory headed by professor Keld Danø. The early part of his research was conducted in collaboration with IFOM Deputy Director professor Francesco Blasi (1988-1992) and their joint paper demonstrating that uPAR is attached to the cell surface by a glycolipid anchor has been cited more than 500 times. Among other achievements Dr Ploug and collaborators solved the first X-ray structures of human and mouse uPAR, proved uPAR to be absent from cells isolated from paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria patients, discovered the allosteric regulation of vitronectin binding by uPA, and defined the underlying molecular basis. Based on structural considerations he has recently advanced the design of a highly efficient peptide-based PET tracer for the non-invasive detection of uPAR expression in vivo in cancer patients and the first phase-1 safety study in humans has just been completed unveiling the full translational potential of this targeting peptide in a clinical setting. Dr Ploug has published approximately 100 peer-review articles yielding an H-factor of 41.

Ploug's article

March 2015

Stepping up the tension in uPAR mediated cell signaling by integrins

Commentary on Nicolai Sidenius's paper published on EMBO Journal.