Xiaofeng Wang

Assistant Professor

Program Focus

Viral replication mechanisms and virus-host interactions of positive-strand RNA viruses

Positive-strand RNA viruses [(+)RNA viruses] are the largest viral class, including the vast majority of plant viruses as well as many important human and animal pathogens, such as hepatitis C virus and SARS coronavirus. Despite diverse host range and genome organization, all (+)RNA viruses share similar strategies in RNA replication, the most critical step in viral life cycle. My lab uses engineered Brome mosaic virus (BMV)-yeast and BMV-N. benthamiana systems to study viral RNA replication and virus-host interactions. BMV, essentially BMV replication protein 1a, induces perinuclear ER membrane invaginations into the ER lumen to form viral replication compartments. Understanding how BMV modulates host membrane rearrangement and lipid synthesis to accommodate these alterations will reveal underlying functional and structural similarities among all (+)RNA viruses. We currently focus on the interactions between host lipid synthesis/composition and viral replication complex assembly. The goals are to advance our understanding of the viral RNA replication mechanism and develop broad-spectrum antiviral strategies.

Current Projects

NSF IOS 1645740

‘Virus-host interactions in the assembly of positive-strand RNA virus replication complexes’


Ph.D., Genetics, Michigan State University, 2002

M.S., Plant genetics and breeding, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 1995

B.S., Plant genetics and breeding, China Agricultural University, 1992


  • Aug. 2012 - present: Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Blacksburg, VA
  • Aug. 2009 - July 2012: Assistant Professor, Texas AgriLife Research Center, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University system, Weslaco, TX
  • July 2007 - July 2009: Assistant Scientist, Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • June 2002 - June 2007: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • July 1997 - May 2002: Research Assistant, Genetics Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI  
  • Aug 1995 - June 1997: Group leader, Biotechnology Research Center, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China

Courses Taught

  • PPWS 5054 - Plant pathogenic agents, Plant virology section
  • PPWS 5454 - Plant Disease Physiology & Development, Virus-host interactions

Program Focus

The focus of my outreach program is to foster research interest of and provide training and research opportunities to students from the underrepresented groups.  

Current Projects

‘A pilot program recruiting Hispanic students for Molecular Plant Pathology at PPWS’

Co-sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, PPWS, MPS, and Latham Hall research funds.

Xiaofeng Wang
  • (540) 231-1868
  • reachxw@vt.edu
  • 549 Latham Hall
    Mail code: 0390
    220 Ag Quad Lane
    Blacksburg, VA 24061