Tai Guo, a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, studies the relationship between early exposure to endocrine disruptors and diseases such as diabetes and asthma.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I received my Ph.D. in pathology and laboratory medicine from Albany Medical College in New York. I have two master’s degrees—one from AMC, and the other was from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. My bachelor’s degree was from Wuhan University.
I am currently a professor at the department of veterinary biosciences and diagnostic imaging in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and my responsibilities include research and teaching.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I started working at UGA in January 2012. I relocated from Virginia to Georgia to have a close interaction and collaboration with several well-known immunotoxicologists at UGA to expand my research and advance my career.
What are your favorite courses and why?
I provide lectures or function as a course director in courses such as “Principles of Toxicology,” “Immunotoxicology,” “Advanced Topics in Toxicology,” “Mammalian Cellular Physiology,” “Introduction to Environmental Health Science,” and “Cellular Pathology,” as well as “Independent Research for Undergraduates” and “Doctoral Research.” If I had to choose favorites, it would be the graduate research courses because they are challenging and interesting. It is stimulating and inspiring to work with both graduate and undergraduate students. It also involves close interactions with them to build up lifelong relationships.
What interests you about your field?
I generally like everything I do, but the topic I am most interested in is toxicology. I am a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. My current research areas include the immunotoxicology of endocrine disruptors and the underlying mechanisms leading to exacerbation of various diseases (diabetes, asthma, etc.). Endocrine disruptors are agents that affect hormones and related systems in our bodies. My laboratory has shown, among other things, that exposure to these agents early in life and before we are born can increase the risk of developing diseases of the immune system later in life. I hope that this research will one day lead to the prevention of such diseases in people.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
I am really grateful that UGA made a lifelong commitment to me and provides me freedom to explore a broad range of research topics. One of the smaller highlights of my career at UGA is sharing my knowledge with people (not just students) around me. A bigger highlight is being privileged with opportunities to speak nationally and internationally about my research. I look forward to other possibilities that may arise from my association with UGA.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy doing research with students by writing grants and manuscripts with them. The material I teach them inspires my research because when I am collaborating with them, they bring up topics that I taught in classes. Also, when I do research by myself, I enjoy sharing the findings with my students. Students play a major role in driving me forward.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
Students should not only be successful academically, but they should also learn how to have a balanced life as well. I hope my students learn to care, love and help each other as they work with me.
Describe your ideal student.
My ideal student would be grateful, optimistic, passionate, self-motivated, humble and have a good attitude and perseverance.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
I enjoy going to the Ramsey Student Center, which is a relaxing environment where I can exercise and think without interruption. I have thought of many good ideas during my time at the Ramsey Center.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
I like to watch football games with my children and work in the yard.
Community/civic involvement includes…
Attending church, teaching a Sunday school class, preaching and more.
Favorite book/movie (and why)?
My favorite movie is “The Sound of Music.” It is a classic. From this movie, I have learned that no matter what happens, you can still have music in your heart.
Proudest moment at UGA?
My proudest moments at UGA are the times my hard work has paid off: receiving grants, accepted manuscripts and students doing well in their exams. I look forward to other proud moments still to come.
(Originally published Feb. 12, 2017)