Zelieann Craig

Assistant Professor
Shantz, Rm. 221

1117 E. Lowell St.

Work focuses on understanding how phthalates, a group of endocrine disruptors, affect the function of the ovary, the major reproductive organ in females.


  • B.S. Industrial Microbiology - University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  • Ph.D. Physiological Sciences - University of Arizona

Dr. Craig joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 2013. Prior to coming to the University of Arizona, she completed her postdoctoral work in reproductive toxicology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Research Interests:

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 have 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. 

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 develop additional models to evaluate other chemicals and environmental factors that could influence both human and animal reproduction.

Current Funding:

As part of her postdoctoral training, Dr. Craig was awarded a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Career Development Award (K99) titled “Mechanisms of phthalate-induced ovarian follicle toxicity”.  This award is organized in two phases: a postdoctoral phase that has been completed at the University of Illinois, and an independent phase which will be activated begining in the Fall of 2013 at the University of Arizona.

Selected Publications:

  • Rivera Z, Christian PJ, Marion SL, Brooks HL, Hoyer PB.  Steroidogenic capacity of residual ovarian tissue in VCD-treated mice.  Biol Reprod 2009; 80:328-336.
  • Craig ZR, Davis JR, Marion SL, Barton JK, Hoyer PB.  7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) induces Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors in the follicle-depleted ovary of 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD)-treated mice.  Comp Med 2010; 60:10-17. 
  • Craig ZR, Leslie TL, Hatfield KL, Gupta RK, Flaws, JA.  Mono-hydroxy methoxychlor alters levels of key sex steroids and steroidogenic enzymes in cultured mouse antral follicles.  Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2010; 249(2):107-113.
  • Wang W, Craig ZR, Basavarajappa MS, Gupta R, Flaws JA.  Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate inhibits growth of ovarian antral follicles through an oxidative stress pathway.  Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2012; 258:288-295. 
  • Peretz J, Craig ZR, Flaws JA.  Bisphenol A inhibits follicle growth and induces atresia in cultured mouse antral follicles independently of the genomic estrogenic pathway.  Biol Reprod. 2012; 87(3):63, 1-11.
  • Wang W, Craig ZR, Basavarajappa MS, Hafner KS, Flaws JA.  Mono (2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate Induces Oxidative Stress and Inhibits Growth of Mouse Ovarian Antral Follicles.  Biol Reprod. 2012; 87(6):152.
  • Craig ZR, Hannon PR, Wang W, Ziv-Gal A, Flaws JA.  Di-n-butyl phthalate disrupts the expression of genes involved in cell cycle and apoptotic pathways in mouse ovarian antral follicles. Biol Reprod 2013; 88(1):23.
Courses Taught: