Zelieann Craig

Research Interests

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 inspire and guide future work aimed at reducing, preventing, and/or reversing chemical-related adverse reproductive outcomes in humans and animals.

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.