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: +1 919 613 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 493: Research Independent Study
  • BIOLOGY 412S: Sensory Signal Transduction
  • BIOLOGY 213D: Cell Signaling and Diseases

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Pei, S; Tao, Q; Li, W; Qi, G; Wang, B; Wang, Y; Dai, S; Shen, Q; Wang, X; Wu, X; Xu, S; Theprungsirikul, L; Zhang, J; Liang, L; Liu, Y; Chen, K; Shen, Y; Crawford, BM; Cheng, M; Zhang, Q; Wang, Y; Liu, H; Yang, B; Krichilsky, B; Pei, J; Song, K; Johnson, DM; Jiang, Z; Wu, F; Swift, GB; Yang, H; Liu, Z; Zou, X; Vo-Dinh, T; Liu, F; Pei, Z-M; Yuan, F, Osmosensor-mediated control of Ca2+ spiking in pollen germination., Nature, vol 629 no. 8014 (2024), pp. 1118-1125 [10.1038/s41586-024-07445-6] [abs].
  • Chen, J; Li, L; Kim, JH; Neuhäuser, B; Wang, M; Thelen, M; Hilleary, R; Chi, Y; Wei, L; Venkataramani, K; Exposito-Alonso, M; Liu, C; Keck, J; Barragan, AC; Schwab, R; Lutz, U; Pei, Z-M; He, S-Y; Ludewig, U; Weigel, D; Zhu, W, Small proteins modulate ion-channel-like ACD6 to regulate immunity in Arabidopsis thaliana., Molecular cell, vol 83 no. 23 (2023), pp. 4386-4397.e9 [10.1016/j.molcel.2023.10.030] [abs].
  • Li, X-C; Chang, C; Pei, Z-M, Reactive Oxygen Species in Drought-Induced Stomatal Closure: The Potential Roles of NPR1., Plants (Basel, Switzerland), vol 12 no. 18 (2023) [10.3390/plants12183194] [abs].
  • Liu, F; Zhao, J; Sun, H; Xiong, C; Sun, X; Wang, X; Wang, Z; Jarret, R; Wang, J; Tang, B; Xu, H; Hu, B; Suo, H; Yang, B; Ou, L; Li, X; Zhou, S; Yang, S; Liu, Z; Yuan, F; Pei, Z; Ma, Y; Dai, X; Wu, S; Fei, Z; Zou, X, Genomes of cultivated and wild Capsicum species provide insights into pepper domestication and population differentiation., Nature communications, vol 14 no. 1 (2023) [10.1038/s41467-023-41251-4] [abs].
  • Liu, C; Wang, H; Zhang, Y; Cheng, H; Hu, Z; Pei, Z-M; Li, Q, Systematic Characterization of the OSCA Family Members in Soybean and Validation of Their Functions in Osmotic Stress., International journal of molecular sciences, vol 23 no. 18 (2022) [10.3390/ijms231810570] [abs].