Oleksiy Shevchenko

Oleksiy Shevchenko

Head of the Research Laboratory

Research Fellow, PhD.
Virology Department, Biology Faculty
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv (Ukraine)

Head of the Research Laboratory, PhD, Senior Research Fellow
ESC ‘Institute of Biology’
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv (Ukraine)


MS degree with highest distinction, Microbiology and Virology
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv (Ukraine)

PhD studentship, Virology
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, Kyiv (Ukraine)

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv (Ukraine)

Training at Molecular Phytopathology Lab
Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)

Reader in Virology and Virology of microorganisms
Open International University of Human Development Ukraine, Kyiv (Ukraine)

Training in Biosafety
Kyiv (Ukraine)

Training in Clinical Trials
Kyiv (Ukraine)

Senior Research Fellow
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv (Ukraine)

Virus ecology, epidemiology and diagnostics

Research Fields:

Previous and Current Research

  1. Biodiversity of plant viruses in Ukraine
  2. Diagnostics of plant viruses of important crops
  3. Development and spread of viral infections in transformed environment
  4. Cellular aspects of virus infections in stressed plants
  5. Physiology and adaptive potential of plants subjected to biotic and abiotic stress factors
  6. Molecular typing and mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation of viruses of cultural and wild flora in Ukraine

The objects under epidemiological and evolutional study are viruses infecting cereal, oil, vegetable, melon, fruit and decorative cultures, technical and medicinal plants, wild-growing plants, etc. Apart from epidemiological issues, we pay great attention to the study of environmental stress factors’ impact (primarily, chronic influence of radioactive irradiation and heavy metals contamination) on the development of plant virus infections at tissue and plant level, and on their spread in the ecosystems. We have achieved several principally novel blocks of fundamental data on the peculiarities of visual symptoms appearance and cytopathology of virus infections, systemic transport of viruses in the conditions of anthropogenically modified ecosystems.

For the first time in Ukraine we have detected the following plant viruses inducing significant crop losses:

  • Wheat dwarf virus
  • Barley mild mosaic bymovirus
  • Wheat spindle streak mosaic bymovirus
  • Cereal soil-borne mosaic furovirus
  • Zucchini yellow mosaic virus
  • Watermelon mosaic virus 2
  • Pepino mosaic virus
  • Pepper mild mottle virus
  • Turnip mosaic virus

Phylogenetic analysis became a major direction of the research of our group. We have studied phylogenetic relationships of novel and known viruses isolated in Ukraine to compare them with published sequences.

We also study viral infections of medicinal plants (Panax ginseng, Echinacea purpurea, Valeriana officinalis, Mentha piperita, Plantago major, Lophantus adans, etc.), virus impact on physiology of infected plants (content of carbohydrates, photosynthetic pigments, and biologically active compounds) and adaptive potential of plants subjected to biotic and abiotic stress factors.

Another direction of our efforts is focused on biological protection of plants against bacterial diseases using viruses of bacteria. We have 20 years of experience of dealing with viruses (phages) of plant bacteria infecting many important crops, collected a wide panel of active virus isolates, and have developed pilot virus preparations active against certain strains of Erwinia and Pseudomonas endangering commercial production in agri-, horti- and floriculture. The developed technology may also be adopted for generating virus-based preparations virtually against any bacterial disease of plants. The benefits include high activity and specificity, ecologically friendly technology, and biological safety.

Figure 1. Screening of symptomatic crops for viruses: ELISA and PCR

Figure 2. The logic behind designing ELISA- and PCR-based kits for virus diagnostics

Figure 3. Plant viruses easily spread (top) and accumulate (bottom) in plants subjected to radioactive/heavy metal stress

Figure 4. Heavy metal stress induce malformation of cytoplasmic viral inclusions (top right) and greater accumulation of viral particles in cell organelles (bottom right). Top left and bottom left pictures show healthy variants

Figure 5. Virus infections described for commercial plantings of Valeriana officinalis (top row) and Echinacea purpurea (bottom row)

Figure 6. UPGMA phylogenetic tree showing fully sequenced Ukrainian isolates (green circles) and the relationships among known isolates of Wheat dwarf virus

Figure 7. The logic behind phage therapy: pathogenic bacteria are killed by specific phage(s)

Future Projects and Goals

  1. Screening for most economically important plant viruses in cultivated and wild-growing plants for biosafety and biosecurity
  2. Design of diagnostic kits for plant viruses
  3. Introduction of virus research and diagnostics into agricultural practices in Ukraine for sustainable production

Methodological and Technical Expertise

  1. Common field/lab techniques in virology
  2. Laboratory animal handling, antiserum generation
  3. Light/fluorescent/electron microscopy
  4. Molecular and biotech techniques (PCR/RT-PCR, ELISA, gel electrophoresis, gene cloning, plant transformation, etc.)
  5. Plant virus control and risk assessment
  6. Reader in ‘Virology’, Virology of microorganisms

Selected Publications

Shevchenko O.V., Budzanivska I.G., Patyka V.P., Boyko A.L., Polischuk V.P..
Influence of heavy metals on the development of plant virus infections. Textbook
Kyiv, Phytosociocenter, 2003, 224 p.

Polischuk V.P., Shevchenko T.P., Budzanivska I.G., Shevchenko A.V., Demyanenko F.P., Boyko A.L.
Effects of Radioactive and Chemical Pollution on Plant Virus Frequency Distribution
In: Brechignac F. and Desmet G. (eds.) Equidosimetry (NATO Security through Science Series, Environmental Security, Vol.2.). Springer, 2005, pp. 87-92.

Shevchenko O., Kamzel O., Budzanivska I., Shevchenko T., Spaar D., Polischuk V.
Heavy metal soil contamination delays the appearance of virus-induced symptoms on potato but favours virus accumulation
Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection, - 2006, 40:6, 406 - 413.

Polischuk V.P., Shevchenko O.V., Budzanivska I.G., Shevchenko T.P.
Abiotic environmental factors: effects on epidemiology of plant virus infections
In: Cooper J.I. et al. (eds.) Virus Diseases and Crop Biosecurity (NATO Security through Science Series). Springer, 2006, pp.121-132.

Vlugt van der R., Verbeek M., Polischuk V., Shevchenko O., Semchuk L.
Bacteriophages: therapeuticals and alternative applications.
COGEM Report, Netherlands, 2008, 75 p.

Dmitriev A., Shevchenko O., Polischuk V., and Guscha N.
Effects of low dose chronic radiation and heavy metals on plants and their fungal and virus infections
Data Science Journal. V.8. - 2009. 49-66 pp.

Tobias I., Shevchenko O., Kiss B., Bysov A., Snihur H., Polischuk V., Salanki K., Palkovics L.
Comparison of the Nucleotide Sequences of Wheat Dwarf Virus (WDV) isolates from Hungary and Ukraine
Polish Journal of Microbiology. - 2011. - V.60, No.2. -125-131 pp..

Shevchenko O.V.
Summary of lab diagnostics for virus pests endangering glasshouse farming of vegetables in Ukraine: the outcomes, sources of infection, and conclusions
Bulletin of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University. 2012. Biology Series. V.62. 51-53 pp..

Iutinska O.A., Bysov A.S., Petrenko S.M., Budzanivska I.G., Polischuk V.P., Shevchenko O.V.
Stability of plant virus genotype and risk assessment for arising of novel virus variants with elevated epidemic potential in anthropogenically transformed environment
Bulletin of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University. 2012. Biology Series. V.62. 5-8 pp.

Dmitriev A.P., Shevchenko O.V., Polischuk V.P., Guscha N.I.
Chapter XVII: Effects of low dose chronic radiation and heavy metals on plant-pathogen interactions
In: Burlakova E.B., Naydich V.I. (eds.) The lessons of Chernobyl: 25 years later. Nova Science Publishers, 2012, 229 - 243 pp..

Shevchenko O., Iutynska O.
Complementary results of luminescent and transmission electron microscopy provide striking evidence of heavy metal ions effect on the formation of aggregates of Tobacco Mosaic Virus virions both in vitro and in vivo
Bulletin of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Series Biology. - 2014. V.3 (65). 71 - 75 pp.

Shevchenko T.P., Tymchyshyn O.V., AlDalain E., Bysov A.S., Budzanivska I.G., Shevchenko O.V., Polishchuk V.P.
The first evidence of subgroup IB isolates of Cucumber mosaic virus in Ukraine
Biopolymers and Cell. 2015. V.31, N.1. 57-62 pp.


Homepage: http://biology.univ.kiev.ua/naukovo-doslidna-baza/department-of-experimental-biology/ndl-virusologiji/shtat-ndl-virusologiji/816-shevchenko-oleksij-volodimirovich.html