Plesa is a synthetic biologist whose research interests lie at the intersection of biochemistry, protein engineering, microbiology, synthetic biology, genetics and technology. He was awarded an NIH New Innovator Award for this project, “Proteome Scale Multiplexed Generation of Recombinant Antibodies.” The work in Plesa’s lab focuses on large-scale gene synthesis, which plays an important role in functional characterization of DNA sequences and for the development of synthetic biology. Current efforts in this area have been slowed by high cost. Plesa developed a method called DropSynth, which allows the generation of large libraries of genes and functional testing of all possible mutations at relatively low cost, which opens new avenues of research and potential applications. Plesa earned his Ph.D. from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and his master’s degrees from Delft in 2009 and Chalmers University in Sweden in 2010. He was a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA before coming to the UO in 2019.