Zhen-Ming Pei


Associate Professor of Biology

My laboratory is interested in the early signaling events by which plants sense environmental signals and decode to give the appropriate responses. Upon perception of external signals, cell surface receptors trigger an increase in cytosolic free calcium concentration, which is mediated by ion channels. Our long-term goals are to identify these receptors and ion channels, isolate their interacting components, and assign molecular functions to them. Currently, we are using multidisciplinary approaches of biophysics, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular genetics, and function genomics to dissect the signaling cascades of external calcium as well as nitric oxide in the model plant Arabidopsis.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Associate Professor of Biology

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 3102 Ffsc, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-1000
  • Office Phone: (919) 613-8152
  • Email Address: zpei@duke.edu


  • Ph.D. Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology (China), 1993
  • M.S. Fudan University (China), 1990
  • B.S. Lanzhou University (China), 1985

Courses Taught

  • BIOLOGY 213D: Cell Signaling and Diseases
  • BIOLOGY 293: Research Independent Study
  • BIOLOGY 412S: Sensory Signal Transduction
  • BIOLOGY 493: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Wu, F; Chi, Y; Jiang, Z; Xu, Y; Xie, L; Huang, F; Wan, D; Ni, J; Yuan, F; Wu, X; Zhang, Y; Wang, L; Ye, R; Byeon, B; Wang, W; Zhang, S; Sima, M; Chen, S; Zhu, M; Pei, J; Johnson, DM; Zhu, S; Cao, X; Pei, C; Zai, Z; Liu, Y; Liu, T; Swift, GB; Zhang, W; Yu, M; Hu, Z; Siedow, JN; Chen, X; Pei, Z-M, Hydrogen peroxide sensor HPCA1 is an LRR receptor kinase in Arabidopsis., Nature, vol 578 no. 7796 (2020), pp. 577-581 [10.1038/s41586-020-2032-3] [abs].
  • Jiang, Z; Zhou, X; Tao, M; Yuan, F; Liu, L; Wu, F; Wu, X; Xiang, Y; Niu, Y; Liu, F; Li, C; Ye, R; Byeon, B; Xue, Y; Zhao, H; Wang, H-N; Crawford, BM; Johnson, DM; Hu, C; Pei, C; Zhou, W; Swift, GB; Zhang, H; Vo-Dinh, T; Hu, Z; Siedow, JN; Pei, Z-M, Plant cell-surface GIPC sphingolipids sense salt to trigger Ca2+ influx., Nature, vol 572 no. 7769 (2019), pp. 341-346 [10.1038/s41586-019-1449-z] [abs].
  • Crawford, BM; Strobbia, P; Wang, H-N; Zentella, R; Boyanov, MI; Pei, Z-M; Sun, T-P; Kemner, KM; Vo-Dinh, T, Plasmonic Nanoprobes for in Vivo Multimodal Sensing and Bioimaging of MicroRNA within Plants., Acs Applied Materials & Interfaces, vol 11 no. 8 (2019), pp. 7743-7754 [10.1021/acsami.8b19977] [abs].
  • Strobbia, P; Crawford, BM; Wang, HN; Zentella, R; Boyanov, MI; Pei, ZM; Sun, TP; Kemner, KM; Vo-Dinh, T, Application of plasmonic nanoprobes for SERS sensing and imaging of biotargets in plant systems, Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging Proceedings of Spie, vol 10894 (2019) [10.1117/12.2512010] [abs].
  • Crawford, BM; Strobbia, P; Wang, HN; Zentella, R; Boyanov, MI; Odion, R; Pei, ZM; Sun, TP; Kemner, KM; Vo-Dinh, T, In vivo nucleic acid detection and imaging within whole plants using plasmonic nanosensors, Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Active Materials: Behavior and Mechanics, vol 11007 (2019) [10.1117/12.2524840] [abs].