Pei Zhong

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

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 1103 Engineering Annex, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 5336
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


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

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 592: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 336L: Fluid Mechanics

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Chen, Junqin, Derek S. Ho, Gaoming Xiang, Georgy Sankin, Glenn M. Preminger, Michael E. Lipkin, and Pei Zhong. “Cavitation Plays a Vital Role in Stone Dusting During Short Pulse Holmium:YAG Laser Lithotripsy.” J Endourol 36, no. 5 (May 2022): 674–83.
  • Zhong, Pei, Michael E. Lipkin, and Glenn M. Preminger. “Editorial Comment:Elucidating the Mechanism of Stone Dusting Requires a Fresh and Rigorous Approach in the New Era of Laser Lithotripsy.” J Endourol 36, no. 5 (May 2022): 686–87.
  • Abe, Shinya, Hiroshi Nagata, Erika J. Crosby, Yoshiyuki Inoue, Kensuke Kaneko, Cong-Xiao Liu, Xiao Yang, et al. “Combination of ultrasound-based mechanical disruption of tumor with immune checkpoint blockade modifies tumor microenvironment and augments systemic antitumor immunity.” J Immunother Cancer 10, no. 1 (January 2022).
  • Xiang, Gaoming, Xiaojian Ma, Cosima Liang, Hongyang Yu, Defei Liao, Georgy Sankin, Shunxiang Cao, Kevin Wang, and Pei Zhong. “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 150, no. 2 (August 2021): 1013.
  • Ho, Derek S., Dominick Scialabba, Russell S. Terry, Xiaojian Ma, Junqin Chen, Georgy N. Sankin, Gaoming Xiang, et al. “The Role of Cavitation in Energy Delivery and Stone Damage During Laser Lithotripsy.” J Endourol 35, no. 6 (June 2021): 860–70.
  • Li, Mucong, Georgy Sankin, Tri Vu, Junjie Yao, and Pei Zhong. “Tri-modality cavitation mapping in shock wave lithotripsy.” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 149, no. 2 (February 2021): 1258.
  • Liao, Defei, Ming-Yen Hsiao, Gaoming Xiang, and Pei Zhong. “Optimal pulse length of insonification for Piezo1 activation and intracellular calcium response.” Scientific Reports 11, no. 1 (January 2021): 709.
  • Zhang, Ying, Chen Yang, Hao Qiang, and Pei Zhong. “Nanosecond shock wave-induced surface acoustic waves and dynamic fracture at fluid-solid boundaries.” Physical Review Research 1, no. 3 (November 2019): 033068.
  • Li, Fenfang, Chen Yang, Fang Yuan, Defei Liao, Thomas Li, Farshid Guilak, and Pei Zhong. “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 115, no. 3 (January 2018): E353–62.
  • Yuan, Fang, Chen Yang, and Pei Zhong. “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 112, no. 51 (December 2015): E7039–47.
  • Neisius, Andreas, Nathan B. Smith, Georgy Sankin, Nicholas John Kuntz, John Francis Madden, Daniel E. Fovargue, Sorin Mitran, et al. “Improving the lens design and performance of a contemporary electromagnetic shock wave lithotripter.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111, no. 13 (April 1, 2014): E1167–75.
  • Sankin, G. N., F. Yuan, and P. Zhong. “Pulsating tandem microbubble for localized and directional single-cell membrane poration.” Physical Review Letters 105, no. 7 (August 2010): 078101.
  • Hu, Zhenlin, Xiao Yi Yang, Yunbo Liu, Georgy N. Sankin, Eric C. Pua, Michael A. Morse, H Kim Lyerly, Timothy M. Clay, and Pei Zhong. “Investigation of HIFU-induced anti-tumor immunity in a murine tumor model.” J Transl Med 5 (July 11, 2007): 34.
  • Sankin, G. N., W. N. Simmons, S. L. Zhu, and P. Zhong. “Shock wave interaction with laser-generated single bubbles.” Physical Review Letters 95, no. 3 (July 2005): 034501.