Dongmei Xu

Dongmei Xu

Product Development

Dongmei Xu, Ph.D., serves as Fellow, Product Development for Altria Client Services in Richmond, VA. In this role, she provides leadership across a wide range of research and development activities, including product supply security strategic direction for the biotechnology program, and technology strategies for reduced risk products. 

Prior to her current role, Dr. Xu served as Senior Principal Scientist for Altria’s biotechnology program, where she led work to improve the fermentation process and shelf-life stability for smokeless tobacco products. Later she also led plant genetics research to support tobacco harm reduction and possible future regulatory compliance obligations.  While at U.S Smokeless Tobacco Company (prior to its acquisition by Altria), Dr. Xu led teams developing a portfolio of tobacco traits, including the discovery of nicotine demethylase genes responsible for the biosynthetic conversion of nicotine to nornicotine, a precursor to a tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA). This work led to the discovery and development of Zyvert® lines of tobacco with lower TSNA levels.  

In addition to her roles at Altria, Dr. Xu has served in a variety of academic and research roles, including associate research scientist, visiting scientist, and adjunct faculty member at the University of Kentucky. In 2019, she was honored with a Distinguished Alumnus award by the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Since 2017, Dr. Xu has served as President of the Phytopathology/Genetics Study Group of the Cooperation Centre for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco (CORESTA).  She also represents Altria on CORESTA’s Scientific Commission.

Dr. Xu has published numerous peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and is the named inventor on more than 30 U.S. patents and more than 100 patents worldwide.  

Ph.D., Crop Sciences with emphasis of Molecular Genetics, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY, 1996

M.S., Agronomy, Shanxi Agricultural University, Shanxi, P. R. China, 1985

B.S., Agronomy, Shanxi Agricultural University, Shanxi, P. R. China, 1982