Zelieann Craig

RFG Co-Leader
Research Focus Group Membership: 
Research Focus Group 3

Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2009, Physiological Sciences
University of Puerto Rico, 2004, Industrial Microbiology

College Affiliations: 

College of Agriculture and LIfe Sciences

Research Interests: 

Female Reproductive Toxicology

Environmental Health Research & Expertise: 

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 has 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.