Professor and Interim Department Chair

Dr. Zhao received his BS degree in Animal Science from Anhui Agricultural University, China. He then moved to Nanjing Agricultural University of China to complete his MS degree in Animal Nutritional Physiology and Biochemistry under the mentorship of Hang Zhengkang.  After working as a Research Associate in Beijing Institute of Nutritional Resources for 4 years, He went the University of Alberta, Canada to complete his PhD in Molecular Nutritional Physiology, with John Kennelly as his advisor.  Dr. Zhao had his post-doctoral training at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), NIH, USA in Takami Oka’s laboratory before becoming a Research Scientist at American Registry of Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, DC. In 2001, Dr. Zhao moved to Vermont as an Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont where he progressed through the ranks to become Professor.

The research in Dr. Zhao’s laboratory focuses on lactation physiology and metabolism. The current specific research areas include, but not limited to: i) antioxidation in the mammary gland, and ii) glucose uptake and utilization in bovine mammary gland. The pathology of breast cancer and mastitis is also a research interest in Dr. Zhao’s laboratory. The overall aims of Dr. Zhao’s research are to improve milk production efficiency and animal health in dairy cows and to prevent and treat breast cancer in humans.



Xiujuan Lin, Shanshan Li, Yixuan Zou, Feng-Qi Zhao, Jianxin Liu, and Hongyun Liu. (2018). Effects of lysine supplementation on lysine absorption and utilization and protein synthesis and degradation in bovine mammary epithelial cells. Journal of Nutrition, in press

Qiong Chen, Wen-Ting Dai, Ya-Lu Sun, Feng-Qi Zhao, Jian-Xin Liu, and Hong-Yun Liu. (2018). Methionyl-methionine dipeptide improves reproductive performance over free methionine in mice. Nutrients, 10, 1190; doi:10.3390/nu10091190

Caihong Wang, Feng-Qi Zhao, Jianxin Liu, and Hongyun Liu. (2018). Dipeptide (methionyl-methionine) transport and its effect on β-casein synthesis in bovine mammary epithelial cells. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, 49(2):479-488. doi: 10.1159/000492987

Wenting Dai, Quanjuan Wang, Feng-Qi Zhao, Jianxin Liu, and Hongyun Liu. (2018). Integrative transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of the mammary gland of dairy cows fed different-quality forages reveal regulatory mechanisms of milk production. BMC Genomic 19, 403 (18 pages). DOI: 10.1186/s12864-018-4808-5

Feng-Qi Zhao, Yogi Misra, Da-Biao Li, Marilyn P Wadsworth, David Krag, Donald Weaver, Joseph Tessitore, Da-Wei Li, Guo Zhang, Qing Tian, and Katie Buss. (2018). Differential expression of Oct3/4 in human breast cancer and normal tissues. International Journal of Oncology 52, 2069-2078. DOI: 10.3892/ijo.2018.4341


Bo Wang, Feng-Qi Zhao, Bao-Xing Zhang, and Jian-Xin Liu. (2016). Insufficient supply of glucose causes reduced lactose synthesis in lactating dairy cows fed rice straw replacing alfalfa hay. Journal of Animal Science 94(11), 4771-4780. doi: 10.2527/jas2016-0603

Xiaolu Jin, Kai Wang, Lan Liu, Hongyun Liu, Feng-Qi Zhao, and Jianxin Liu. (2016). Activation of Nrf2-ARE signaling by tert-butylhydroquinone attenuates acute heat stress in bovine mammary epithelial cells. Journal of Dairy Science 99, 9094-9103. doi: 10.3168/jds.2016-11031

Huawei Zeng, Suzanne L Ishaq, Feng-Qi Zhao, and Andre-Denis G Wright. (2016). Colonic inflammation accompanies an increase of β-catenin signaling and Lachnospiraceae/Streptococcaceae in the hind gut of high-fat diet-fed mice. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 35, 30-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2016.05.015

Emily A. Lounsbury, Feng-Qi Zhao, and Karen M. Lounsbury. (2016). Adipose tissue hypoxia: effects on metabolism and insulin sensitivity (review). Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences 6(3), 488. doi: 10.4172/2155-9600.1000488

Shun Kitaoka, Anthony Morielli, and Feng-Qi Zhao. (2016). Regulation of glucose transport by insulin/IGF-like signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans. FEBS Open Bio 6, 576-585. doi: 10.1002/2211-5463.12068

Xi Qian, and Feng-Qi Zhao. (2016). Regulatory role of Oct proteins in the mammary gland (invited review). BBA - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms 1859, 812-819. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2016.03.015


Xiaolu Jin, Kai Wang, Hongyun Liu, Fuliang Hu, Feng-Qi Zhao, and Jianxin Liu. (2015). Protection of bovine mammary epithelial cells from hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative cell damage by resveratrol. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Volume 2016, Article ID 2572175, 15 pages. doi:10.1155/2016/2572175

Jian-Xiang Yang, Cai-Hong Wang, Qing-Biao Xu, Feng-Qi Zhao, Jian-Xin Liu, and Hong-Yun Liu. (2015). Methionyl-methionine promoted milk protein synthesis in bovine mammary gland explants by enhancing intracellular substrate availability and activating JAK2-STAT5 and mTOR-mediated signaling pathways. Journal of Nutrition 145 (8), 1748-1753. doi:10.3945/jn.114.208330


Xi Qian, and Feng-Qi Zhao. (2014). Recent major advances in regulation of milk protein gene expression (Review). Critical ReviewsTM in Eukaryotic Gene Expression 24(4), 357-378. doi:10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2014012215

Xi Qian, Jana Kraft, Yingdong Ni, and Feng-Qi Zhao. (2014). Production of recombinant human proinsulin in the milk of transgenic mice. Scientific Reports 4, 6465; doi:10.1038/srep06465

Yong Shao, Theresa L. Wellman, Karen M. Lounsbury, and Feng-Qi Zhao. (2014). Differential regulation of GLUT1 and GLUT8 expression by hypoxia in mammary epithelial cells. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 307, R237-R247. doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00093.2014

Ke Zhao, Hong-Yun Liu, Feng-Qi Zhao, and Jian-Xin Liu. (2014). Short communication: Protein kinase C regulates glucose uptake and mRNA expression of GLUT1 and GLUT8 in lactating bovine mammary epithelial cells. Journal of Dairy Science, 97, 4329-4332. doi:10.3168/jds.2013-7848

Ke Zhao, Hong-Yun Liu, Miao-Miao Zhou, Feng-Qi Zhao, and Jian-Xin Liu. (2014). Insulin stimulates glucose uptake via a PI3-K-linked signaling pathway in bovine mammary epithelial cells. Journal of Dairy Science, 97, 3660每3665. doi:10.3168/jds.2013-7773

Yong Shao, and Feng-Qi Zhao. (2014). Emerging evidence of the physiological role of hypoxia in mammary development and lactation (invited review). Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 5,9.

Feng-Qi Zhao. (2014). Biology of glucose transport in the mammary gland (invited review). Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia, 19(1), 3-17.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Lactation Physiology, Molecular Genetics


  • Ph.D., University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
  • M.S., Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China
  • B.S., Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, Anhui Province, China


  • 802-656-0786
Office Location:

211 Terrill Building

Office Hours:

Upon Request