Dr. Zhao is interested in social media and crisis communication, risk and health communication, and social influence. She tries to understand the communication process using large-scale data, social networks, and experiment. As she had a heavy dose of informatics and statistics at Maryland, she is also interested in computational methods to communication.

Dr. Zhao's scholarly work has appeared in top specialty journals including Public Relations Review, Journal of Health Communication, Health Communication, International Journal of Communication, International Journal of Strategic Communication, Journal of Contingency and Crisis Communication, etc.

Dr. Zhao’s research has been recognized by different organizations globally. She has received multiple Top Papers Awards from the association of the International Communication Association (ICA) in the years of 2020 (Public Relations Division), 2018 (Information Systems Division), and 2017 (Public Relations Division).


  • Ph.D., University of Maryland at College Park; M.Phil., Hong Kong Baptist University; B.A., Fudan University