Julia Zaias, D.V.M., Ph. D., DACLAM · Treasuer


I have been a veterinary pathologist since 2001 and have provided histopathologic and clinical pathologic interpretation/support for several research projects and researchers at the university (see publications list below).  I am one of 2 veterinary pathologists here and have been the primary pathologist for laboratory animals for the past 15 years.

I have worked with Dr. Abreu’s team for over 6 years providing animal care and welfare, histopathologic, and experimental design support.  From this long-term collaboration, I have coauthored various publications with the faculty members and students of this team.

Publication list

Sotolongo, J, Espana C, Echeverry A, Siefker D, Altman N, Zaias J, Santaolla R, Ruiz J, Schesser K, Adkins B, Fukata M.  2011.  Host innate recognition of an intestinal bacterial pathogen induces TRIF-dependent protective immunity.  J Exp Med. 208(13):2705-16.

Fukata, M, Shang, L, Santaolalla, R, Sotolongo, J, Pastorini, C, Espana, C, Ungaro, R, Harpaz, N, Cooper, HS, Elson, G, Kosco-Vilbois, M, Zaias, J, Perez, MT, Mayer, L, Vamadevan, AS, Lira, SA, Abreu, MT.  2011.  Constitutive activation of epithelial TLR4 augments inflammatory responses to mucosal injury and drives colitis-associated tumorigenesis.  Inflamm Bowel Dis. 17:1464-1476.

Ungaro, R, M. Fukata, D. Hsu, Y Hernandez, K Breglio, A Chen, R Xu, J Sotolongo, C Espana, J Zaias, G Elson, L Mayer, M Kosco-Vilbois, MT Abreu.  2009.  A novel Toll-lie receptor 4 antagonist antibody ameliorates inflammation but impairs mucosal healing murine colitis.  Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 296: G1167-79.

Education / Training

University of Miami; Coral Gables, FL B.S. 1987

Marine Science & Biology

University of Illinois; Urbana-Champaign, M.Sc. 1992


Tufts University of Veterinary Medicine; North Grafton, MA D.V.M. 1996

Veterinary Medicine

University of Miami School of Medicine; Miami, FL Resident 06/98-05/01

Veterinary Pathology

University of Miami School of Medicine; Miami, FL Senior Resident 06/00-05/01

Veterinary Pathology

University of Miami Rosensteil School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences; Miami, FL PhD 2004

Marine Biology

American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine Diplomate 2008

Laboratory Animal Boards

Positions and Honors

1996 – 1998 Veterinarian; Knowles Small Animal Clinics; Miami, FL

1998 – 2001 Veterinary Pathology Resident; University of Miami School of Medicine; Miami, FL

1999 – present Consulting Veterinarian & Board member; Pelican Harbor Seabird Station; Miami, FL

2000 – 2001 Senior Veterinary Pathology Resident; University of Miami School of Medicine; Miami, FL

2000 – 2004 Senior Research Associate; University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Pathology; Miami, FL

2001 – 2006 Attending Veterinarian; Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Miami, FL; Attending Veterinarian; Mount Sinai Medical Center; Miami Beach, FL 

2001 – present Attending Veterinarian & Board member; Marine Animal Rescue Society; Miami, FL

2004 – 2011 Assistant Professor; University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Pathology; Veterinary Pathologist, University of Miami, and Veterinarian, Division of Veterinary Resources

 2009 Member of Manatee Conservation Commission, Miami-Dade County, FL

 2011 – present Associate Professor; University of Miami School of Medicine, Department of Pathology

2006 – present Associate Director of Division of Veterinary Resources, University of Miami School of Medicine

2011 – present Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Miami

2011 – 2012 Interim Director, Division of Veterinary Resources, University of Miami

2012 – present Director, Division of Veterinary Resources, University of Miami

2013 – present Board Member, Temple Israel of Greater Miami, Miami, FL

SERUM PROTEIN ELECTROPHORESIS AND ACUTE PHASE PROTEINS: In biomedical research, animal welfare regulations dictate that pain and distress should be minimized in the conduct of research. Since the identification of pain and/or distress can be subjective and difficult especially in prey species like rodents, objective criteria are needed. To address this problem we investigated using serum proteins, either in standard electrophoretograms or specifically measuring the acute phase proteins, as early and specific markers of pain and/or distress. Both protein electrophoresis and acute phase protein evaluation provide early and specific information of potential pain and/or distress and require very small sample volumes which makes them ideal to use in small rodents and in other small or exotic species (such as birds, reptiles, etc). Our work has laid the foundation for applying these concepts to small animals and to animals in biomedical research. My participation involved design, implementation, analysis, and writing of the research studies and publications.

  1. C. Cray, M. Rodriguez, J. Zaias. 2007. Protein Electrophoresis of Psittacine Plasma. Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 36(1):64-72.

  2. Cray, C, Zaias, J, Altman, NH. 2009. Acute phase response in animals: a review. Comparative Medicine 59:517-26.

  3. Zaias, J, Mineau, M, Cray, C, Yoon, D, Altman, NH. 2009. Reference values for serum proteins of common laboratory rodent strains. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci 48:387-90.

EFFECTS OF RED TIDE TOXIN EXPOSURE: Harmful algal blooms are explosive growths of phytoplankton in the oceans worldwide that have harmful effects (often toxin) to the biota. Typically, these blooms result in massive fish kills and often involve morbidity and mortality of larger animals including humans, cetaceans, manatees, etc. The exact mechanisms of toxicity are not fully known for all exposure routes and longer-term consequences of exposure to sub-clinical levels of these toxins in the water are also unknown. We investigated the inhalation route of exposure and the mechanisms of non-lethal intoxication in various species in the laboratory and in humans during actual harmful algal bloom events. Subclinical exposure in laboratory animals can result in decreased responsiveness of inflammatory cells in-vitro and immunosuppression in vivo. These findings contribute to a new understanding of potential chronic immunologic effects in humans and potentiation of human chronic disease conditions (eg., asthma) in those exposed to blooms and red tides. My participation included conducting, designing and analyzing studies and manuscript preparation.

  1. Zaias J, Fleming LE, Baden DG, Abraham WM. 2011. Repeated exposure to aerosolized Brevetoxin-3 induces prolonged airway hyper-responsiveness and lung inflammation in sheep. Inhalation Toxicology. 23(4):205-211.

  2. Benson, J, Naar, J, Pierce, R, Abraham, WM, Kirkpatrick, G, Hollenbeck, J, Zaias, J, Mendes, E, Baden, DG. 2011. Florida Red Tide Toxins (Brevetoxins) and Longitudinal Respiratory Effects in Asthmatics. Harmful Algae, 10:744-748.

  3. Fleming, LE, Bean, JA, Kirkpatrick B, Cheng, YS, Pierce, R, Naar, J, Nierenberg K, Backer, LC, Wanner, A, Reich, A, Zhou, Y, Watkins, S, Henry, M, Zaias, J, Abraham, WM, Benson, J, Cassedy, A, Hollenbeck, J, Kirkpatrick, G, Clarke, T, Baden, DG. 2009. Exposure and effect assessment of aerosolized red tide toxins (brevetoxins) and asthma. Environ Health Perspect 117(7):1095-1100.

SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT EFFECT ON ATHEROSCLEROSIS DEVELOPMENT:  Atherosclerosis is well known as an inflammatory disease associated with metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol.  Many medications are on the market to address these aspects of the disease etiology. However, interest in behavioral/social interventions in the management of this disease is increasing.  Our work addresses the effects of social environment (single-housed, affiliative social pairing and stressful social pairing) on the progression of atherosclerosis in a rabbit with heritable hyperlipidemia.  We showed that affiliative, but not stressful, social pairing slows the progression of atherosclerosis relative to single housing and stressful pairing.  We continue to examine the effects of social environment on the various pathways that could be responsible for this attenuation of disease and have shown that oxytocin is a key player in disease attenuation.  This information can lead to alternative social methods of disease mitigation in people, instead of medications alone.  My role in these projects was primarily pathologic evaluation of tissues and characterization of the degree of atherosclerosis, and also experimental design and analysis.

  1. McCabe, P. M., J. A. Gonzales, J. Zaias, A. Szeto, M. Kumar, A. J. Herron, & N. Schneiderman.  2002.  Social environment influences the progression of atherosclerosis in the Watanabe heritable Hyperlipidemic rabbit, Circulation 105: 354-359.

  2. Paredes, J., A. Szeto, J. E. Levine, J. Zaias, J. Gonzales, A. Mendez, M. Llabre, N.Schneiderman, P. M. McCabe.  2006.  Social environment influences hypothalamic oxytocin in the WHHL rabbit.  Psychoneuroendocrinology, 31: 1062-1075.

  3. Nation, DA, JA Gonzales, AJ Mendez, J Zaias, A Szeto, LG Brooks, J Paredes, A D’Angola, N Schneiderman, PM McCabe.  2008.  The effect of social environment on markers of vascular oxidative stress and inflammation in the Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic rabbit.  Psychosom Med 70(3):269-275

EFFECTS OF FENBENDAZOLE ON RODENTS IN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH:  In biomedical research and laboratory animal science, disease prevention and elimination are key to maintaining healthy colonies of laboratory animals.  While outbreaks of adventitious diseases in colonies are becoming scarcer, they still can and do occur.  The cost of replacing many transgenic animals is very high; therefore treatment, when possible, is a viable option for some pathogens.  Fenbendazole is a commonly used antihelminthic that is effective against pinworm infections.  This drug can be incorporated into standard rodent chow for easy administration.  While this drug has been in use for many years, it had not been clear if the medication itself had significant side effects that could affect study results in and of itself.  We conducted several studies to assess if and what the effects of Fenbendazole medicated feed has on various rodent animal models.  We demonstrated that in fact this medicated feed can have significant affects thereby altering study results.  These type of data provide critical information that can be used to make informed decisions by investigators and by laboratory animal veterinarians.  My role in these studies was experimental design, conduct, analysis and manuscript preparation.

  1. Cray, C, Watson T, Zaias J, Altman, N.  2013.  Effect of fenbendazole on an autoimmune mouse model. Journal of Amer. Assoc. of Lab Animal Sci.  52(3): 286-289.

  2. Landin, AM, D Frasca, J Zaias, E Van der Put, R Riley, NH Altman, B Blomberg.  2009.  Effects of Fenbendazole treatment on the murine humoral immune system.  J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci, 48:251-7.

  3. Cray, C, D Villar, J Zaias, NH Altman.  2008.  Effects of fenbendazole on routine immune response parameters of BALB/c mice. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci, 47(6):32-36.


Research and Support

NIH-NCI 1-R01-CA-149659-01-A1 (J. Merchan, PI)                         2/1/11 – 1/31/16

Tumor and Stromal Targeting by Oncolytic Viruses

The overall objective of this application, which is the next step in the pursuit of that goal, is to characterize the specificity and therapeutic effects of tumor stromal and vascular targeting of oncolytic measles viruses via the urokinase receptor (with a virus called MV-uPA), a critical tumor/stromal cell surface glycoprotein.  Zaias Role: Co-Investigator, veterinary pathologist (4% effort)

NHLBI Program Project HL PO1 36588-21 (Neil Schneiderman, P.I.)
Title: Biobehavioral Bases of CHD Risk and Management.  Grant Period:  5/15/07-5/14/12 (5% effort)

Zaias Role: Co-Investigator, veterinary pathologist

GLAS grants, American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, “Acute phase markers of mouse transport Stress”, 2012.  $6,862.80.  Zaias, PI; role: experimental design, conduct, analysis