Professor - Animal Physiology; James McGill Professor
T: 514-398-7975 | xin.zhao [at] mcgill.ca (Email) | Macdonald-Stewart Building, MS1-084
BSc, MSc (Nanjing Agricultural University, China)
Xin Zhao obtained a bachelor degree in Animal Science in 1982 and a Master Degree in Nutritional Physiology and Biochemistry in 1985 from Nanjing Agricultural University, China. Then, he went to US for his PhD study. After completing his PhD study in 1989 from Cornell University, he went to Canada for his postdoctoral study first in the University of Guelph and then in the University of Toronto. He started working at McGill University as an Assistant Professor in 1993 and was promoted to full professor in 2006.
Awards and Recognitions
- 2016 West Agro, Inc. Award, American Dairy Science Association
- 2014-2021 James McGill Professor, McGill University
- 2011 Canadian Society of Animal Science Fellowship Award
- 2007-2014 James McGill Professor, McGill University
- 2006 Canadian Society of Animal Science's award for Technical Innovation in Enhancing Production of Safe Affordable Food
- 2002-2006 William Dawson Scholar, McGill University
My research interests pertain to the interaction between microorganisms and hosts (Dairy cows and poultry). In dairy research, we focus on reactions of the bovine immune system during intra-mammary infection, pathogenesis of mastitis, genetic determination of milk fatty acids and milk protein allergy. In poultry research, we work on prebiotics, probiotics and gut microbiome.
Antimicrobial resistance of staphylococci from mastitic milk
We are working on (a) to reveal organizational and structural characteristics of antibiotic resistant genes in milk staphylococcal isolates; (b) to determine whether and how regulatory RNAs regulate expression of antibiotic resistant genes; (c) to study the horizontal gene transfer of antibiotic resistance genes among staphylococcal isolates.
Prebiotics and probiotics for poultry production
We are systematically investigating effects of potential prebiotics on production parameters, immune responses and gut microbiota in chickens, in order to reduce usage of antibiotics as growth promoters in poultry production. We also work with industrial partners to develop high vitamin D eggs.
We are working on (a) to develop new strategies to speed up the mammary gland involution during early dry periods, in order to reduce the incidence of mastitis during the early dry period; (b) to investigate genetic influence of milk fatty acids, in order to contribute to the knowledge base about milk fatty acids and provide potential targets for animal breeding programs.
Current Research Projects
The genetics of bovine milk cholesterol content: Identification of molecular determinants and biomarkers of milk cholesterol (NSERC and Canadian Dairy Network)
Dairy cow management for the next generation (Dairy Farmers of Canada and AAFC)
Investigation of antibiotic resistance genes in staphylococcal isolates from bovine milk (NSERC)