Dr. Baozhong Meng

Dr. Baozhong Meng
Associate Professor
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Phone number: 
53876 / 53264
SSC 4255
SSC 4206

Dr. Baozhong Meng is Associate Professor of Virology in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Science and a member of the graduate fields of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Biology.  He received a Ph.D. degree in Plant Virology in 1999 from Cornell University under the mentorship of Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor, Dr. Dennis Gonsalves.  He continued on as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Cornell’s Plant Pathology Department at Geneva, New York.  In 2002, he joined the faculty of the University of Guelph. He has served on the Virology Committee and the Biotechnology Impact Assessment Committee of the American Phytopathological Society.  Dr. Meng has served as subject editor (virology) for Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology and is a member of the editorial board of Frontiers in Plant Science and Frontiers in Microbiology.  He has also served as lead editor for an international book project entitled “Grapevine viruses: molecular biology, diagnostics and management”, a 33 chapter comprehensive book published by Springer in 2017.  He is currently a member of the review panel for the OMAFRA-UoG Strategic Partnerships (Emergency Management) program.  In 2018, he was invited to serve on the review panel for the United Grant Management program for Viticulture and Enology by California Department of Food and Agriculture.  He also serves as a regular reviewer for numerous national and international funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs New Directions Program, and State of Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture Fund program.  In addition, he serves as a frequent reviewer for 25 scientific journals, including PLoS Pathogens, Plant Physiology, Journal of Experimental Botany, Virology, Phytopathology, Frontiers in Microbiology, Canadian Journal of Microbiology, among others.

  • B.Sc. Hebei Agricultural University
  • Ph.D. Cornell University
  • Postdoctoral Associate: Cornell University

Viruses are simple but fascinating microbes. Because of the lack of cellular structures, viruses depend entirely on cellular organisms for their perpetuation. Viruses are important in a number of ways. First, they are major pathogens of humans, animals, and plants. Second, reliance of viruses on cellular structures and functions has made viruses ideal tools to study and advance several biological disciplines such as molecular biology, cell biology and immunology.

Research in my laboratory encompasses both basic and applied aspects, with the ultimate goal of understanding viruses and viral diseases for the betterment of agriculture. This goal is being achieved through investigations using multi-disciplinary approaches including those used in virology, molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry and through national and international collaborations. Our research involves a number of important viruses that infect plants, which include Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus (GRSPaV), a ubiquitous and important pathogen of grapes worldwide.

We were the first to unravel the genome sequence and structure of GRSPaV. We have discovered that GRSPaV is composed of a wide range of sequence variants. We have demonstrated that most commercial grape varieties are infected with multiple sequence variants and proposed that the existence of multiple viral variants in a single grapevine likely resulted from grafting between scions and rootstocks. Furthermore, we have developed serological and nucleic acid-based methods for the rapid detection of GRSPaV. Recently, we have developed infectious cDNA clones for GRSPaV. We are exploring the possibility of developing GRSPaV into a virus-induced gene silencing vector for the elucidation of grapevine genes and genetic sequences.

Current research directions:

  • Processing and subcellular localization of the replicase polyprotein of GRSPaV.
  • Elucidation of function of the novel Alkylation B (AlkB) domain in the replicase polyprotein of GRSPaV and closteroviruses.
  • Structure and cellular localization of viral replication complexes.
  • Evolution biology and bio-informatics of major grapevine viruses
  • Development of virus-induced gene-silencing vectors for beneficial applications. Development and application of highly efficient and economical technologies for the diagnosis of major grapevine viruses.

Publications (2000-present)

  • Moore, C., Meng, B. 2019. Prediction of the Molecular Boundary and functionality of Novel Viral AlkB Domains Using Homology Modeling and Principal Component Analysis. Journal of General Virology. Accepted for publication: February 7, 2019.
  • Xiao, H., Li, C., Al Rwahnih, M., Dolja, V. Meng, B. 2018. Metagenomic analysis of grapevine reveals complex virome including two new and divergent variants of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3.  Plant Disease.  Accepted for publication: November 2018.
  • Diaz-Lara, A., Klaassen, V., Stevens, K., Sudarshana, M.R., Rowhani, A., Maree, H.J., Xhooi, K.M., Blouin, A.G., Habili, N., Song, Y., K. Aram, K. Arnold, M.L. Cooper, L. Wunderlich, M. C. Battany, L. J. Bettiga, R. J. Smith, R. Bester, H. Xiao, B. Meng, J.E. Preece, D. Golino, M. Al Rwahnih. 2018. Characterization of grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 genetic variants and application towards RT-qPCR assay design.  PLoS One PLoS ONE 13(12):e0208862
  • Xiao, H., Shabanian, M., Moore, C., Li, C. and Meng, B. 2018. Survey for major viruses in commercial Vitis vinifera wine grapes in Ontario.  Virology Journal. 15: 127.
  • Meng, B. and Rowhani, A. 2017. Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus. Chapter 12 in Grapevine viruses: molecular biology, diagnostics and management. Springer, 2017.Angelini, E., Aboughanem-Sabanadzovic, N., Dolja, V.V. and Meng, B. 2017. Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 2. Chapter 7 in Grapevine viruses: molecular biology, diagnostics and management. Springer, 2017.Xiao, H. & Meng, B. 2016. First report of Grapevine asteroid mosaic-associated virus and Grapevine rupestris vein feathering virus in grapevines in Canada. Plant Disease 100, 2175.
  • Dolja, V.V. and Meng, B. 2017. Biotechnology applications of grapevine viruses. Chapter 31 in Grapevine viruses: molecular biology, diagnostics and management. Springer, 2017.Xiao, H., Shabanian, M., McFadden-Smith, W. & Meng, B. 2016. First report of Grapevine Pinot gris virus in commercial grapevines in Canada. Plant Disease 100, 1030.
  • Dolja, V.V., Meng, B. and Martelli, G.P. 2017. Evolutionary aspects of grapevine viruses. Chapter 32 Grapevine viruses: molecular biology, diagnostics and management. Springer, 2017.
  • Xiao, H., Kim, W.S. & Meng, B. 2015. Comparison and improvement of methodologies for isolation of quality RNA from diverse woody plant species and utilization in detection of viral pathogens. Virology Journal 12, 171.
  • Prosser, S., Xiao, H., Li, C., Nelson, R. S. & Meng, B. 2015. Subcellular localization and membrane association of the replicase protein of Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus, family Betaflexiviridae. Journal of General Virology 96, 921-932.
  • Meng, B., Venkataraman, S., Li, C., Wang, W., Dayan-Glick, C. & Mawassi, M. 2013.  Construction and biological activities of the first infectious cDNA clones of the genus FoveavirusVirology 435, 453-462.
  • Mann, K. & Meng, B. 2013. Partial complementation of cell-to-cell movement of Potato virus X by the movement proteins of a distantly related virus. Virus Genes, 47, 93-104. 
  • Tian, X., Zheng, Y., Chintaluri, K. & Meng, B. 2013. First report of Impatiens necrotic spot virus on Hiemalis Begonia (Benonia x hiemalis) in Canada. Plant Disease 97, 291.
  • Terlizzi, F., Li, C., Ratti, C., Qu, W., Credi, R. & Meng, B. 2011. Detection of multiple sequence variants of Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus using primers targeting the polymerase domain and partial genome sequencing of a novel variant.  Annals of Applied Biology 159, 478-490.
  • Meng, B. & Li, C. 2010. The capsid protein of Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus contains a typical nuclear localization signal and targets to the nucleus. Virus Research 153, 212-217.
  • Lunden, S., Meng, B., Avery, J. Jr. & Qiu, W. 2010. Association of Grapevine fanleaf virus, Tomato ringspot virus and Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus with a grapevine vein-clearing complex on Chardonnay. European Journal of Plant Pathology 126,135-144.
  • Rebelo, A.R., Niewiadomski, S., Krell, P. & Meng, B. 2008. Exploring the subcellular localization of proteins encoded by a foveavirus infecting grapevines. Virus Research 138, 57-69.
  • Meng, B. & Gonsalves, D. 2008. Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus. Chapter 12 (Pages 201-222) In: Characterization, Diagnosis & Management of Plant Viruses. Edited by G. Rao et al. Studium Press, LLC, Houston, Texas.
  • Prosser, S., Goszczynski, D. E. & Meng, B. 2007. Molecular analysis of viral double-stranded RNAs reveals complex infection of grapevines with multiple viruses. Virus Research 124, 151-159.
  • Meng, B. & Gonsalves, D. 2007. Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus: A decade of research and future perspectives. Plant Viruses 1, 52-62 (Review).
  • Meng, B., Rebelo, A. R. & Fisher, H. 2006. Genetic diversity analyses of grapevine Rupestris stem pitting-associated virus reveal distinct population structures in scion versus rootstock varieties. Journal of General Virology 87, 1725-1733.
  • Meng, B., Li, C., Wang, W., Goszczynski, D. & Gonsalves, D. 2005. The complete genome sequences of two new variants of Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus and comparative analyses. Journal of General Virology 86, 1555-1560
  • Meng, B., Li, C., Goszczynski, D. & Gonsalves, D. 2005. Genome sequence and structure of two biologically distinct strains of GLRaV-2 and sequence analysis. Virus Genes 31, 31-41.
  • Meng, B., Credi, R., Petrovic, N., Tomazic, I. & Gonsalves, D. 2003. Antiserum to recombinant virus coat protein detects Rupestris stem pitting-associated virus in grapevines. Plant Disease 87, 515-522.
  • Meng, B. & Gonsalves, D. 2003. Rupestris stem pitting associated virus of grapevines: genome structure, genetic diversity, detection, and phylogenetic relationship to other plant viruses. Book Chapter in: Research Trends, “Current Topics in Virology”, Vol. 3, 125-135. 
  • Petrovic, N., Meng, B., Ravnikar, M., Mavric, I. & Gonsalves, D. 2003. First detection of Rupestris stem pitting-associated virus particles by antibody to a recombinant coat protein. Plant Disease 87, 510-514.
  • Gonsalves D. & Meng, B. 2000. United States Patent No. 6093544, "Rupestris stem pitting associated virus nucleic acids, proteins, and their uses. Issued on July 25, 2000.
  • Fermin-Munoz, G. A., Meng, B., Ko, K., Mazumdar, S., Gubba, A. & Carroll, J. E. 2000. Biotechnology: A new era for plant pathology and plant protection. American Phytopathological Society Net Feature Article. May, 2000.
  • Foundations in Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG*2040)
  • Laboratory Methods in Molecular Biology I (MBG*3350)
  • The World of Viruses (MICR*3330)
  • Molecular Virology (MICR*4330)
  • Research Projects in Molecular & Cellular Biology (MCB*4500 and MCB*4510)

Current and Past Lab Members

Graduate students-Current

  • Olivia Roscow (M.Sc.)
  • Yashu Song (Ph.D.)
  • Dipendra Karki (Ph.D.)
  • Mehdi Shabanian (Ph.D.)

Graduate students-Past:

  • Clayton Moore (M.Sc. BINF)
  • Julia Hooker (M.Sc.)
  • Molly Udaskin (M.Sc.)
  • Krin S. Mann (M.Sc.)
  • Ana Rita Rebelo (M.Sc.)
  • Sean W. Prosser (M.Sc.)
  • John Rak (M.Sc.)

Research Fellows and Associates - Past

  • Dr. Huogen Xiao (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Dr. Srividhya Venkataraman (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Dr. Weizhou Wang (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Dr. Andrew McCartney (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Youfen Shang (Visiting Scientist)
  • Dr. Xi-hong Yu (Visiting Scientist)