New Faculty Focus: Fei Zhao

Fei Zhao

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 Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

How did you get into your field of research? My strong interests in reproductive sciences and developmental biology. My lab aims to understand cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation of reproductive tracts.

What attracted you to UW–Madison? The successful and happy people and the supporting environment

What was your first visit to campus like? Amazing lake views.

What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with? Keep curious and ask why and how.

Is there a way your field of study can help the world endure and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the health, finances and lifestyle of so many? Fetal development determines an individual’s health in adulthood. Healthier babies; healthier people. This notion in our field tells us that the effects of COVID-19 infection in pregnant women on developing babies in the wombs cannot be ignored.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? As a reproductive biologist studying sex organ development, I am well-positioned to understand the cause of birth defects in sex organs, which is one of the leading causes of infertility.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter during video chats (and eventually parties)? Our health had been shaped when we were in our mothers’ wombs.

Hobbies/other interests: Hiking, playing basketball and soccer.

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