Dr. X. J. Meng of Blacksburg, Va., a virologist in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Meng, a professor of molecular virology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, will be recognized at the Academy Fellows Luncheon at the 112th American Society of Microbiology general meeting in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, June 19.

“We are very proud of Dr. Meng’s extraordinary accomplishments as a researcher,” said Dr. S. Ansar Ahmed, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “This prestigious honor recognizes the global implications of Dr. Meng’s work as a virologist.”

Members of the academy, known as Fellows, are elected through a highly selective, annual, peer-reviewed process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. The criteria for election to fellowship are scientific excellence, originality, and leadership; high ethical standards; and scholarly and creative achievement. Academy Fellows are eminent leaders in the field of microbiology and are relied upon for authoritative advice and information on critical issues in microbiology.

Each elected Fellow has built an exemplary career in basic and applied research, teaching, clinical and public health, industry or government service. Election to Fellowship indicates recognition of distinction in microbiology by one’s peers. Over 200 Academy Fellows have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, while many have also been honored with Nobel Prizes, Lasker Awards, and the National Medal of Science.

Meng’s research focus is on emerging and reemerging viral diseases that impact veterinary and human public health. He is widely considered one of the world’s leading scientists in hepatitis E virus, porcine circovirus type 2, and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. Meng developed the first United States Department of Agriculture fully-licensed vaccine to protect against porcine circovirus type 2 infection and its associated diseases in pigs, a major threat to the global swine industry. Meng also discovered the swine hepatitis E virus in pigs, which led to the recognition of hepatitis E as a zoonotic disease. He was recognized by Thomson Scientific as being ranked in the top 1 percent of highly-cited scientists in the world in the field of microbiology based on total citations of Meng’s publications from 1997 to 2007.

Meng won the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence twice, once in 2001 and again in 2008.

Prior to joining the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, Meng served as senior staff fellow in 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 a medical doctorate from Binzhou Medical College, a master’s degree in microbiology and immunology from the Wuhan University College of Medicine, and a doctorate in immunobiology from the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The American Academy of Microbiology website has a complete list of the 2012 Fellows.

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