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.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

  • 1103 Engineering Annex, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
  • 1103 Engineering Annex, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708-0300

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