Zelieann Craig, PhD

Assistant Professor, Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Craig joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2013. Prior to coming to the University of Arizona, she completed her postdoctoral work in reproductive toxicology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Infertility is the inability to produce life offspring. Several factors increase a female’s risk for infertility including aging, stress, and exposure to chemicals.   Unfortunately, fertility in women and animals have declined significantly over several decades.  Therefore, understanding how these factors influence human and animal fertility are of great health and economic importance.

A group of chemicals collectively known as phthalates have been classified as endocrine disruptors based on their ability to interact with the reproductive system.  Phthalates have been detected in human urine, animal tissues, and feed.  Despite these observations, knowledge about how phthalates interact with the female reproductive system is currently very limited. 

Dr. Craig's work focuses on understanding how phthalates affect the function of the ovary, the major reproductive organ in females.  Thus, work in her laboratory is focused on using animal models to help us understand the mechanisms by which phthalates exert their effects on the ovary, determine whether phthalates cause female infertility, and examine whether the effects of phthalates on female reproduction can be prevented or reversed.  Using this knowledge she hopes to develop additional models to evaluate other chemicals and environmental factors that could influence both human and animal reproduction.

As part of her postdoctoral training, Dr. Craig was awarded a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Career Development Award (K99) titled “Mechanisms of phthalate-induced ovarian follicle toxicity”.  This award is organized in two phases: a postdoctoral phase that has been completed at the University of Illinois, and an independent phase which will be activated beginning in the Fall of 2013 at the University of Arizona.

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Education & Post Graduate Training: 

BS, Industrial Microbiology, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
PhD, Physiological Sciences, University of Arizona