Pathogenic Microbiology / Infectious Diseases Research
Research by Dr. X.J. Meng, University Distinguished Professor, includes the development of vaccines against emerging and zoonotic viral diseases, including Hepatitis E.
Our largest research program is focused on the study of viruses. Scientists on our Blacksburg and College Park campuses are studying a variety of viruses, including hepatitis E (human, swine, and avian), porcine circovirus (PCV), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), rotavirus, and Newcastle Disease virus (NDV).
Funded by the NIH, USDA, Gates Foundation, and industry partners, projects involve investigation of virus structure and function, disease pathogenesis, host defense responses and development of control strategies. The latter employs a number of innovative approaches, such as effects of probiotics on rotavirus immunity, development of recombinant DNA and virus-like particle vaccines, evaluation of mucosal adjuvants and novel delivery systems to enhance the efficacy of mucosal vaccines using a gnotobiotic pig model, and use of NDV as a vehicle for delivery of viral antigens in development of human vaccines.
Our college has established a national reputation for accomplishments in the study of bacteria, particularly for the development of vaccines against brucellosis, a disease that causes spontaneous abortions in cattle. Current research involves continued work on Brucella vaccines and using them as platforms for second-generation vaccines for other diseases, such as tuberculosis and paratuberculosis.
Other projects focus on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and control of Histophilus somni, Haemophilus parasuis, Pasteurella multocida, and Francisella tularensis; the use of photogenic biosensors in diagnosis of infectious diseases; and methods of targeted drug delivery using nanoparticles as carriers.
Center for One Health Research
The Center for One Health Research (COHR) gathers faculty, staff, and students from VA-MD Vet Med and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine who have a shared interest in cooperative research and scholarship related to infectious diseases. This collaboration is founded on the two schools’ One Health philosophy, which is based on the understanding that animal health, human health, and the environment are inextricably linked; consequently, professionals from these fields must work together to protect, promote, and improve overall health. The center coordinates research, instruction, and outreach activities related to understanding the disease processes that affect both animal and human health, and supports the continued advancement of the science and technology of disease-intervention strategies.
In 2020, significant renovations were completely to robustly grow VA-MD Vet Med's research program in infectious diseases. The COHR's research laboratories were renovated to accommodate a large research team led by Dr. Mohamed Seleem, a newly recruited endowed chair in bacteriology. In addition, investments were made to improve the COHR's equipment, administrative infrastructure/operations, and animal facilities and support for ACE2 murine models for COVID researchers.
Faculty research team
Bio ItemClayton C. Caswell, PhD , bio
Associate Professor, Bacteriology
Bio ItemNisha Duggal, PhD , bio
Associate Professor, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Bio ItemRaj Gaji, BVSc, MVSc, PhD , bio
Assistant Professor, Parasitology
Bio ItemErin Gloag, PhD , bio
Assistant Professor, Microbiology
Bio ItemKylene Kehn-Hall, MS, PhD , bio
Bio ItemKevin Lahmers, DVM, PhD, DACVP–Anatomic Pathology , bio
Clinical Professor, Anatomic Pathology
Bio ItemMargie Lee, DVM, MS, PhD , bio
Interim Director, Animal Cancer Care and Research Center; Department Head, Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology; Professor
Bio ItemX.J. Meng, MD, MS, PhD , bio
University Distinguished Professor of Molecular Virology; Professor of Internal Medicine, VTC School of Medicine
Bio ItemRoger A. Ramirez-Barrios, DVM, MS, PhD , bio
Clinical Associate Professor, Veterinary Parasitology
Bio ItemMohamed Seleem, DVM, MS, PhD , bio
Tyler J. and Frances F. Young Chair in Bacteriology; Professor
Bio ItemStephen A. Smith, DVM, MS, PhD , bio
Professor, Aquatic Medicine and Fish Health, Wildlife and Exotic Animal Medicine
Bio ItemLijuan Yuan, PhD , bio
Professor, Virology and Immunology