Pei Zhong


Professor in the Department of Mechanical Enginnering and Materials Science

My research focuses on four broad and interconnected areas in the emerging field of therapeutic ultrasound, which is located at the interface of engineering, biology and clinical medicine. Current research interests in my group include:

  1. Ultrasound-targeted gene delivery and activation
  2. Synergistic combination of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and immunotherapy for cancer treatment
  3. Innovations in shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) technology
  4. Mechanics and bioeffects of acoustic cavitation.

We are taking an integrated and translational approach that combines fundamental research with engineering and applied technology development to devise novel and enabling ultrasonic techniques for a variety of clinical applications. Our fundamental research focuses on achieving a mechanistic understanding of the stress response of biological cells and tissues induced by ultrasound exposure. Based on this knowledge, we develop better instrumentation and treatment strategies for ultrasound-targeted gene delivery and activation in internal organs, for improving the overall efficacy of HIFU therapy for breast and prostate cancers, and for SWL treatment of renal calculi. A long-standing research effort in my laboratory is to understand the dynamics and biological consequences of the interaction of optically or acoustically generated cavitation bubble(s) with shock waves near a boundary or in constrained media. We employ a diverse range of experimental techniques including high-speed Schlieren and photoelastic imaging, pressure measurement via fiber optical probe hydrophone, as well as cell, phantom and animal models. 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 Enginnering and Materials Science
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Bass Fellow

Contact Information:

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


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

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions:

  • Fellows. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2011
  • MERIT Award. National Institutes of Health. 2010

Courses Taught:

  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 792: Continuation of Graduate Independent Study
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering
  • ME 336L: Fluid Mechanics
  • ME 391: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 392: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 491: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 494: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 591: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science
  • ME 758S: Curricular Practical Training

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