Xin Zhao

Image by Tom DiSandolo.

Professor - Animal Physiology; James McGill Professor

T: 514-398-7975  | xin.zhao [at] (Email) |  Macdonald-Stewart Building, MS1-084


BSc, MSc (Nanjing Agricultural University, China)
PhD (Cornell)

Short Bio

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

Research Interests

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.

Current Research

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.

Lactation physiology

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)


ANSC 324 Devel. Biology & Reproduction 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ANSC 551 Carbohydrate&Lipid Metabolism 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ANSC 552 Protein Metabolism&Nutrition 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


View a list of Dr Zhao's publications

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