Fei Zhao

New Faculty Focus: Fei Zhao

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Fei Zhao: assistant professor, Comparative Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine Hometown: Kaifeng, China Educational/professional background: I received my PhD in toxicology from the University of Georgia and postdoctoral training in reproductive and developmental biology in the National …

Kimberly Keil Stietz PhD'14

New Faculty Focus: Kimberly Keil Stietz PhD’14

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Kimberly Keil Stietz PhD’14: assistant professor, Comparative Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine Hometown: Manitowoc, Wis. Educational/professional background: BS, St. Norbert College, DePere, Wis.; PhD, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Postdoc, University of California-Davis How did you get into your field …

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Common Chemical Linked to Rare Birth Defect in Mice

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A chemical commonly used in consumer and agricultural products to boost the effectiveness of insecticides has been linked to a rare birth defect in mice. The chemical, piperonyl butoxide or PBO for short, is widely used as a “synergist” in household and agricultural insecticides to make the toxic effects of the insecticide longer lasting and to reduce the amount of actual insecticide in a product.
Despite its widespread and growing use, as well as its ubiquity in the environment, the chemical has been little studied. Now, a team led by Robert Lipinski, a professor of comparative biosciences in the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine, reports that PBO interferes with the critical signaling pathway dubbed by scientists as sonic hedgehog, resulting in stunted forebrain development and signature facial abnormalities. The study is published this week (Oct. 23, 2019) in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.