A noted virologist and physician/researcher in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) at Virginia Tech has been honored as one of the most frequently cited scientists working in the field of microbiology by academic publishing giant Thompson Scientific.

Dr. X. J. Meng of Blacksburg, Va., professor of virology in the school’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, has entered the top one percent of highly cited scientists in the field of microbiology, according to Thompson’s “Essential Science Indicators.” The 31 original articles and review papers that Meng has authored in the field of microbiology over the past 10 years were cited a total of 896 times in other scholarly works over the past decade.

Meng has also been identified as being in the top one percent of highly cited scientists in the field of clinical medicine, according to Thompson. From the ten-year period beginning in January 1997 and ending in August 2007, Meng authored a total of 68 scientific papers that have been cited 1,842 times to date.

“We’re very pleased to see Dr. Meng’s scholarship recognized in this way,” said VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig. “Dr. Meng is a prolific and highly collaborative researcher whose international reputation speaks clearly about the quality of science and scholarship at Virginia Tech. His laboratory operates at the fulcrum of a number of promising strategic initiatives here in the college and at the university.”

Meng is currently serving on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Review Team for the Drug Discovery and Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance Study Section.

In an online interview published by Thompson, Meng reflected on his approach to his work and what he hopes to achieve.

“I have a keen interest in comparative and translational medicine, and my main research focus has been in the field of comparative viral pathogenesis with emphasis on emerging, re-emerging, and zoonotic viral diseases that are important to both human and veterinary public health,” he said. “The ultimate goals for most of my research projects are to develop vaccines and other preventive and control measures against important viral diseases of man and other animals.”

Meng is an excellent example of the intersection between human and animal health, said Schurig, who noted that the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates passed a resolution in June 2007 that formally recognized the concept of “one medicine” and called for greater collaboration between human and veterinary medicine.

Meng says he believes that his training in both human and veterinary sciences provides him with an opportunity to make a unique contribution in human and animal health and biomedical sciences. “I have been trained in both medical and veterinary sciences; therefore I feel that, by conducting biomedical research in the field of comparative viral pathogenesis, I can contribute in a meaningful way to both human and veterinary medicine,” he stated in the Thompson article. “Historically, comparative medicine and animal models have been instrumental in understanding the pathogenesis and mechanism of many human diseases.”

Recently, Meng and colleagues working in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Virginia Tech developed a vaccine to protect against Post-weaning Multi-systemic Wasting Syndrome (PMWS) in pigs, a major threat to the global swine industry. The vaccine has been patented by Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP) and is licensed and being marketed by Wyeth Inc. and Fort Dodge Animal Health Inc.

Meng operates one of the world’s top laboratories in the investigation of Hepatitis E viruses. In addition to the extensive funding he has received from Fort Dodge Animal Health Inc., the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and several other funding agencies to support the PMWS work and his research on several other viruses of veterinary and public health concern, he has been awarded approximately $2 million from the National Institutes of Health to study the Hepatitis E Virus, which is a major threat to people and animals.

His research interests include studying the molecular mechanisms of viral replication and pathogenesis; developing vaccines against viral diseases; the study of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic viral diseases; human, swine and avian Hepatitis E viruses; porcine reproductive; and respiratory syndrome virus and porcine circovirus.

In the late 1980’s Meng conducted research that investigated the connections between human papilloma virus and herpes simplex virus and the development of cervical carcinoma. Following that he moved to Iowa State University where he began studying porcine viruses and completed his Ph.D.

Prior to joining the VMRCVM in 1999, Meng served as Senior Staff Fellow of the Molecular Hepatitis Section of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Meng earned an M.D. from Binzhou Medical College in Binzhou, Shandong, People’s Republic of China; a master’s degree in microbiology and immunology from the Virus Research Institute, Wuhan University College of Medicine, Wuhan, Hubei, Peoples Republic of China; and a Ph.D. in immunobiology from the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Preventive Medicine at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.