Dr. Zhongmin Dong

Dr. Zhongmin Dong is a professor in the Department of Biology at Saint Mary’s University. An expert in plant physiology, he helped set the foundation for a hydrogen fertilization theory that legume nodules release hydrogen gas that increases soil fertility.

As a specialist in plant-microbe interactions, Dr. Dong concentrates on the interrelationships between root systems and rhizosphere organisms. Current research grants from BioFuelNet and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council support his long-term objective of increasing plant productivity by having a better understanding of the mutually beneficial relationships between plants and microorganisms. The applications to his research include using seaweed extracts, algae, and crustacean shell powder to promote crop growth and enhance plant resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses.

Dr. Dong teaches Biology courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels, works with students in Saint Mary’s Genetics Lab, and facilitates fieldwork. During his tenure at Saint Mary’s, he has supervised 18 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and worked with many more honours students. Highly regarded as a teacher and mentor, he was the 2016 recipient of the Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Award from Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association.


In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Dong serves as Chair of the Biology Award Committee and as a member of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Service and Experiential Learning, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Executive Committee, and the University Internationalization and Interculturalization Committee. He also collaborated with colleagues and senior administrators to introduce the University’s new Master of Applied Science program. Other professional duties include interviewing medical school applicants and serving as the acting department chair from 2001 to 2002, and chair from 2003 to 2005.

An engaging presenter with a passion for his subject area, Dr. Dong has been the invited speaker for dozens of forums, seminars, and conferences, including recent engagements at the International Horticultural Congress in Toronto, the Root and Soil Biology Workshop in Canberra, the International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation in Beijing, the Farmtech Conference in Edmonton, the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists in Toronto, and the Advanced Biofuels Symposium in Vancouver. His dedication to shared research includes scholarly contributions to articles in Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences; Plant Physiology; Journal of Applied Microbiology; Environmental Microbiology; Plant and Soil; Plant, Cell & Environment; Microbiology; Applied and Environmental Microbiology; and Canadian Journal of Plant Science.

Born and raised in China, Dr. Dong earned a B.Sc. from Shaanxi Normal University in Xian and a M.Sc. from Peking University in Beijing. After completing a Ph.D. in Canada at Carleton University, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University, and a Visiting Scientist at both Leiden University and the Australian National University. He joined the Biology faculty at Saint Mary’s University in 1998.

Dr. Zhongmin Dong's Affiliations

Acadian Seaplants Ltd

Grape Growers Association of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture