Sabanadzovic earns major international recognition

Sead “Sejo” Sabanadzovic

A Mississippi State University plant virologist has been invited to join the prestigious executive committee of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, or ICTV.

Sead “Sejo” Sabanadzovic, a professor in the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, was elected to the elite group of 18 international experts who serve as the leading authority on describing, identifying, naming and classifying viruses. Sabanadzovic is one of only three plant virologists on the executive committee.

This recognition is the result of Sabanadzovic’s long-term contribution to virus taxonomy initiated during his tenure in Italy and continued over the past decade at MSU. Most recently, as a member of four ICTV study groups, he contributed to classifying and naming microorganisms that belong to four families of viruses that cause disease in cultivated plants.

Daniel G. Peterson, director of the MSU Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology, said Sabanadzovic’s designation is testament to the researcher’s contribution as an international authority in plant virology.

“The majority of molecular biodiversity falls within the realm of viruses. Since only a tiny fraction of viruses have been characterized, Sejo’s service on the ICTV places him in a position to have a major influence on the field of virology,” Peterson said. “Genomics have opened up a new frontier in viral identification and classification, and we are very proud that Sejo is at the forefront of this revolution.”

Sabanadzovic won the 2014 Regions Bank-MSU Division of Agriculture Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Superior Faculty Award in the international category.

He helped found MSU’s plant virology program in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in 2004 and has since established a regional, national and international network of collaborations. International requests for him to give presentations, seminars and workshops have taken Sabanadzovic to Italy, Serbia, France, Montenegro, Costa Rica and Croatia. He also serves on the editorial boards of two peer-reviewed journals and is a reviewer for more than 20 scientific publications.

A native of Montenegro, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; master’s degree from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, Italy; and doctoral degree from the University of Bari, Italy. Before joining MSU, Sabanadzovic worked at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari and the University of California, Davis. In addition to his research duties, Sabanadzovic teaches two courses at MSU.

The ICTV is an official, internationally recognized scientific body tasked with recognizing and classifying viruses and related agents, as well as maintaining an official index of groups of viruses that infect all forms of life. The executive committee is its world-class group. Members come from the United Kingdom, Brazil, France, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Hungary, Canada and the U.S. Find more information at

For more information about the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology in the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, visit

MSU is online at,, and

Vanessa Beeson | MSU Ag Communications

Return to Memo

Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: October 27, 2014Facebook Twitter