Xiaoping Zhu has been named associate dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine's College Park, Maryland, campus and chair of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland.

Zhu, a professor of immunology, formally assumed his new role Jan. 6 after serving as interim since September 2017.

In his position as associate dean, Zhu is responsible for advancing the veterinary college's research and education missions as well as outreach to Maryland constituents. He will partner with offices on the college’s campuses to enhance interdisciplinary research collaborations and graduate program interactions.  

The veterinary college’s Maryland campus — located in close proximity to federal and other agencies in the Washington, D.C., area — was the founding home of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine more than two decades ago. Faculty on the Maryland campus continue to support the center, now headquartered at the college’s Blacksburg campus, in its long history of training veterinary students and graduate veterinarians for careers outside of traditional private clinical practice.

"Xiaoping has built a reputation for excellence in academic leadership, research, and scholarship," said Gregory B. Daniel, interim dean of the veterinary college. "I am delighted to continue working with Xiaoping as we build on the success of our programs, increase collaborations between our campuses, and move the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine forward. I have confidence that Xiaoping will provide the leadership to further our relationships with our veterinary colleagues in the state of Maryland."

“Xiaoping is a highly respected researcher and teacher and he is a wonderful addition to our leadership team here in the college,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) at the University of Maryland. “He has an excellent vision for the department that includes coordinating an even greater public presence of the people and programs in Vet Med and expanding collaborations with disciplines across our college and campus as well as with colleagues at Virginia Tech.”

Zhu’s research interests include understanding how the immune system controls infections and inflammation at mucosal surfaces in veterinary and human medicine and how the research findings can be used to develop better mucosal vaccines and therapeutic strategies. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USDA, and other funding agencies. He also teaches immunology of infectious diseases in the University of Maryland’s graduate program.

Since joining the veterinary college’s Maryland campus in 2003, Zhu has served as director of the University of Maryland’s Veterinary Medical Sciences graduate program and co-director of the NIH T32 virology graduate training program. He is an adjunct professor at China Agricultural University in the College of Veterinary Medicine as well as Ningxia Medical University in the College of Basic Medicine.

Zhu received a DVM degree from Ningxia University, a master's degree in veterinary pathology from China Agricultural University, and a Ph.D. degree in virology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He conducted his postdoctoral research in immunology at Harvard Medical School and then served as a staff scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston before joining the veterinary college's Maryland campus.

“It is a great privilege to continue to serve the college and its two land-grant universities. I am honored and excited for this opportunity,” Zhu said of his transition. “The college is well-positioned to be an innovative leader in veterinary medical education, research, and the great potential of a One Health approach to biomedicine. I look forward to working with our talented faculty, staff, students, and alumni to deliver excellence in our mission to teach, discover, and serve.”

Zhu succeeds Siba Samal, who stepped down after 16 years as associate dean and department chair to focus on his research program, graduate education, and faculty mentorship.