Pei Zhong


Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

My research focuses on engineering and technology development with applications in the non-invasive or minimally invasive treatment of kidney stone disease via shock wave and laser lithotripsy, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and immunotherapy for cancer treatment, acoustic and optical cavitation, and ultrasound neuromodulation via sonogenetics. 

We are taking an integrated and translational approach that combines fundamental research with engineering and applied technology development to devise novel and enabling ultrasonic, optical, and mechanical tools for a variety of clinical applications. We are interested in shock wave/laser-fluid-bubble-solid interaction, and resultant mechanical and thermal fields that lead to material damage and removal.  We also investigate the stress response of biological cell and tissue induced by cavitation and ultrasound exposure, mediated through mechanosensitive ion channels, such as Piezo 1. Our research activities are primarily supported by NIH and through collaborations with the medical device industry.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Bass Fellow

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 1103 Engineering Annex, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5336
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. University of Texas, Arlington, 1992
  • M.Sc. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Medical School, 1988

Research Interests

Mechanistic investigation and technology development in shock wave and laser lithotripsy; Ultrasound-elicited mechanotransduction, neuromodulation and sonogenetics; HIFU and immunotherapy for cancer treatment; Acoustic and optical cavitation.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Fellows. Acoustical Society of America. 2021
  • Fellows. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2011
  • MERIT Award. National Institutes of Health. 2010
  • Searle New Investigator Research Award. American Foundation for Urological Disease. 1994

Courses Taught

  • ME 336L: Fluid Mechanics
  • ME 394: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • ME 491: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 493: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • ME 494: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 591: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Chen, J; Ho, DS; Xiang, G; Sankin, G; Preminger, GM; Lipkin, ME; Zhong, P, Cavitation Plays a Vital Role in Stone Dusting During Short Pulse Holmium: YAG Laser Lithotripsy., J Endourol (2022) [10.1089/end.2021.0526] [abs].
  • Zhong, P; Lipkin, ME; Preminger, GM, Elucidating the mechanism of stone dusting requires a fresh and rigorous approach in the new era of laser lithotripsy., J Endourol (2022) [10.1089/end.2022.0174] [abs].
  • Abe, S; Nagata, H; Crosby, EJ; Inoue, Y; Kaneko, K; Liu, C-X; Yang, X; Wang, T; Acharya, CR; Agarwal, P; Snyder, J; Gwin, W; Morse, MA; Zhong, P; Lyerly, HK; Osada, T, Combination of ultrasound-based mechanical disruption of tumor with immune checkpoint blockade modifies tumor microenvironment and augments systemic antitumor immunity., Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer, vol 10 no. 1 (2022) [10.1136/jitc-2021-003717] [abs].
  • Xiang, G; Ma, X; Liang, C; Yu, H; Liao, D; Sankin, G; Cao, S; Wang, K; Zhong, P, Variations of stress field and stone fracture produced at different lateral locations in a shockwave lithotripter field., The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol 150 no. 2 (2021) [10.1121/10.0005823] [abs].
  • Ho, DS; Scialabba, D; Terry, RS; Ma, X; Chen, J; Sankin, GN; Xiang, G; Qi, R; Preminger, GM; Lipkin, ME; Zhong, P, The Role of Cavitation in Energy Delivery and Stone Damage During Laser Lithotripsy., J Endourol, vol 35 no. 6 (2021), pp. 860-870 [10.1089/end.2020.0349] [abs].
  • Li, M; Sankin, G; Vu, T; Yao, J; Zhong, P, Tri-modality cavitation mapping in shock wave lithotripsy., The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol 149 no. 2 (2021) [10.1121/10.0003555] [abs].
  • Liao, D; Hsiao, M-Y; Xiang, G; Zhong, P, Optimal pulse length of insonification for Piezo1 activation and intracellular calcium response., Scientific Reports, vol 11 no. 1 (2021) [10.1038/s41598-020-78553-2] [abs].
  • Zhang, Y; Yang, C; Qiang, H; Zhong, P, Nanosecond shock wave-induced surface acoustic waves and dynamic fracture at fluid-solid boundaries., Physical Review Research, vol 1 no. 3 (2019) [10.1103/physrevresearch.1.033068] [abs].
  • Li, F; Yang, C; Yuan, F; Liao, D; Li, T; Guilak, F; Zhong, P, Dynamics and mechanisms of intracellular calcium waves elicited by tandem bubble-induced jetting flow., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 115 no. 3 (2018), pp. E353-E362 [10.1073/pnas.1713905115] [abs].
  • Yuan, F; Yang, C; Zhong, P, Cell membrane deformation and bioeffects produced by tandem bubble-induced jetting flow., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 112 no. 51 (2015), pp. E7039-E7047 [10.1073/pnas.1518679112] [abs].
  • Neisius, A; Smith, NB; Sankin, G; Kuntz, NJ; Madden, JF; Fovargue, DE; Mitran, S; Lipkin, ME; Simmons, WN; Preminger, GM; Zhong, P, Improving the lens design and performance of a contemporary electromagnetic shock wave lithotripter., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol 111 no. 13 (2014), pp. E1167-E1175 [10.1073/pnas.1319203111] [abs].
  • Sankin, GN; Yuan, F; Zhong, P, Pulsating tandem microbubble for localized and directional single-cell membrane poration., Physical Review Letters, vol 105 no. 7 (2010) [10.1103/physrevlett.105.078101] [abs].
  • Hu, Z; Yang, XY; Liu, Y; Sankin, GN; Pua, EC; Morse, MA; Lyerly, HK; Clay, TM; Zhong, P, Investigation of HIFU-induced anti-tumor immunity in a murine tumor model., Journal of Translational Medicine, vol 5 (2007) [10.1186/1479-5876-5-34] [abs].
  • Sankin, GN; Simmons, WN; Zhu, SL; Zhong, P, Shock wave interaction with laser-generated single bubbles., Physical Review Letters, vol 95 no. 3 (2005) [10.1103/physrevlett.95.034501] [abs].