Dr. Baozhong Meng

Dr. Baozhong Meng
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 they lack cellular structures, viruses depend entirely on cellular organisms for their perpetuation.  Viruses are important in multiple ways.  First, they are major pathogens of humans, animals, and plants. In fact, they have caused several pandemics including the Spanish Flu, HIV/AIDS, SARS, and yes, the ongoing COVID-19. 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. To date, sixteen Nobel prize-winning discoveries and advancement in science and medicine were made through research involving viruses as the experimental systems.

Research in my laboratory encompasses both basic and applied aspects, with the goal of understanding viruses and viral diseases for the betterment of agriculture. Our research is funded by federal (NSERC), provincial (OMAFRA) as well as the grape and wine industry.  This goal is being achieved through investigations using multi-disciplinary approaches including those used in virology, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics and through broad collaborations.  Our research involves several important viruses of grapevine, which include Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus (GRSPaV, a member of the family Betaflexiviridae) and Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (GLRaV-3, a member of the Closteroviridae).  

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 and GFP-tagged variants for three strains of GRSPaV and GLRaV-3.  We are exploring the possibility of developing viruses into virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) vectors for beneficial applications such as the elucidation of grapevine genes and genetic sequences.

Current Research Directions:

  • Mechanisms for mitochondrial targeting; structure and cellular localization of viral replication complex of GLRaV-3
  • Elucidation of function of the novel Alkylation B (AlkB) domain in the replicase polyprotein of grapevine viruses that belong to viral families Betaflexiviridae and Closteroviridae.
  • Development and optimization of agrobacterium-based infection systems for pathogenic grapevine viruses
  • Evolution biology, genetic diversity and bio-informatics of major grapevine viruses.
  • Application of NGS technologies for the discovery and diagnosis of grapevine viruses.
  • Development and application of highly efficient and economical technologies for the diagnosis of grapevine viruses.

Publications (2000-present)

Song, Y., Hanner, R., Meng, B. RNA-Seq analysis unveils complex virus-host interactions in grapevine ‘Cabernet Franc’. Viruses special issue “A Tribute to Giovanni P. Martelli” 14, 1831. doi.org/10.3390/v14081831.

Wu, R., Meng, B., Corredig, M., Griffiths, M. Rapid detection of hepatitis A virus in foods using a bioluminescent assay in real-time (BART) and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) technology. Submitted to Food and Environmental Virology on May 30, 2022.

Voncina, D., Diaz-Lara, A., Prener, D., Al Rwahnih, M., Stevens, K., Juric, S., Malenica, N., Simon, S., Meng, B., Maletic, E., Fulgosi, H. and Cvjetkovic, B. 2022. Virus and Virus-like pathogens in the grapevine virus collection of Croatian autochthonous grapevine cultivars.  Journal of submission: Plants 2022, 11, 1485. Published on 2022.05.31.  

Chao, S.F., Wang, H.R; Yan, Q., Chen, L., Chen, G.Q., Wu, Y.H.; Jin, L.X., Meng, B., Zhu, X.D., Feng, G.Z. Metatranscriptomic sequencing suggests the presence of novel RNA

viruses in rice transmitted by brown planthopper. Viruses. Accepted 2021.12.

Song, Y., Hanner, R.H., Meng, B. 2021. Genome-wide screening of novel RT-qPCR reference genes for study of GLRaV-3 infection in wine grapes and refinement of an RNA isolation protocol for grape berries. Submitted to Plant Methods on August 2, 2021. Review received Sept 18, 2021. Accepted for publication on Oct 10, 2021.

Wu, R., Meng, B., Corredig, M., Griffiths, M.W. 2022. Efficient capturing and sensitive detection of hepatitis A virus from solid foods (green onion, strawberry, and mussel) using protamine-coated iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles and real-time RT-PCR. Food Microbiology 102: 103921. Available online on 2021.10.01

Shabanian, M., Xiao, H., Meng, B. 2020. Seasonal dynamics and tissue distribution of two major viruses associated with grapevine leafroll under cool climate conditions. European Journal of Plant Pathology 158:1017-1031. DOI 10.1007/s10658-020-02137-z

Greig, N. Luong, J., Hooker, J., Stobbs, L.W., and Meng, B. 2019. Optimization of a direct real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase reaction (DRT-qPCR) assay for the detection of Grapevine rupestris stem-pitting associated viruses (GRSPaV) in grapevine. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology. DOI: 10.1080/07060661.2019.1655483.

Wu, R., Xing, X., Corredig, M., Meng, B. and Griffiths, M.W. 2019. Concentration of hepatitis A virus in milk using protamine-coated iron oxide (Fe3O4) magnetic nanoparticles. Food Microbiology 84 (2019) 103236.

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. 100 (4): 691-703.

Xiao, H., Li, C., Al Rwahnih, M., Dolja, V. Meng, B. 2019. Metagenomic analysis of grapevine reveals complex virome including two new and divergent variants of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3.  Plant Disease 103 (6): 1275-1285.

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 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 in 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.

  • The World of Viruses (MICR*3330)
  • Molecular Virology (MICR*4330)
  • Foundations in Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG*2040)
  • Laboratory Methods in Molecular Biology I (MBG*3350)
  • Research Projects in Molecular & Cellular Biology (MCB*4500 and MCB*4510)
  • Research Topics in Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB*6500/7500)

Current and Past Lab Members

Graduate Students-Current

Catherine Fust (M.Sc.)

Kyle Lanteigne-Wilkins (M.Sc.)

Patrick Lameront (Ph.D)

Dipendra Karki (Ph.D.)

Mehdi Shabanian (Ph.D.)


Graduate Students-Past:

Yashu Song (Ph.D.)

Olivia Roscow (M.Sc.)

Clayton Moore (M.Sc. BINF)

Julia Hooker (M.Sc.)

Molly Udaskin (M.Sc.)

Krin S. Mann (M.Sc.)

Sean W. Prosser (M.Sc.)

John Rak (M.Sc.)

Ana Rita Rebelo (M.Sc.)

Other Personnel:

Huogen Xiao (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
Caihong (Sunny) Li (Research Associate)

Tanvir Bashar (Laboratory Research Assistant)

Srividhya Venkataraman (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Weizhou Wang (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Andrew McCartney (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Youfen Shang (Visiting Scientist)

Xi-hong Yu (Visiting Scientist)

Xu Yang (Visiting Scientist)

Ali Ebadi (Visiting Scientist)