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Dr. Pei Zhang

Associate Professor of Biology

(434) 592-7708
Science Hall 152


  • Post-doc in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics, Yale University
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham



Dr. Zhang grew up in Hunan province, China. At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she dissected the differential signaling pathways and functional consequences induced by fibroblast growth factor receptor isoforms in endothelial cells.


Since then, Dr. Zhang has developed more interdisciplinary approaches to study vascular biology during her 7-year research experience at Yale University. She has identified that lack of OX40L and ICOSL is contributing to medial immunoprivilege properties of vascular smooth muscle cells in a transplantation model. She has used engineered transcription factor, miRNA, and bio-engineering approaches to increase elastin expression with long-term goals to treat elastin deficiency. She has filed two provisional patents from Yale based on these approaches. Dr. Zhang worked as a senior scientist in a pharmaceutical start-up, identifying compounds to treat pulmonary vascular diseases.

Professional Memberships

  • North American Vascular Biology Organization
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • American Heart Association, council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 451
  • BIOL 224L


  • Zhang P & Sessa WC: Ten eleven translocation (Tet) and thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG), components of the demethylation pathway, are direct targets of miRNA-29a. Biochem and Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Aug 2;437(3):368-73, PMID: 23820384
  • Zhang P, Huang A, Morales-Ruiz M, Starcher BC, Huang Y, Sessa WC, Niklason LE, Giordano FJ: Engineered zinc finger proteins can compensate genetic haploinsufficiency by transcriptional activation of the wild-type allele: Application to Williams-Beuren Syndrome and SVAS. Hum Gene Ther. 2012 Nov;23(11):1186-99.PMID:22891920
  • Yao C, Zhang P, Zhang L: Differential protein and mRNA expression of CaMKs during osteoclastogenesis and its functional implications. Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 Aug;90(4):532-9. PMID: 22428553
  • Zhang P, Huang A, Ferruzzi J, Mecham RP, Starcher BC, Tellides G, Humphrey JD, Giordano FJ, Niklason LE, Sessa WC: Inhibition of microRNA 29 enhances elastin levels in cells haploinsufficient for elastin and in bioengineered vessels. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 Mar;32(3):756-92. PMID: 22095981 Editorial Commentary, PMID: 22345590
  • Zhang P, Manes TD, Pober JS, Tellides G: Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Lack Essential Costimulatory Molecules to Activate Allogeneic Memory T Cells. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2010 Sep;30(9):1795-801. PMID: 20539019
  • Wang Y, Bai Y, Qin L, Zhang P, Yi T, Teesdale SA, Zhao L, Pober JS, Tellides G.: Interferon-g Induces Human Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation and Intimal Expansion by Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase Dependent Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Raptor Complex 1 Activation. Circ Res. 2007 Sep 14;101(6):560-9. PMID:17656678
  • Zhang P, Greendorfer JS, Jiao J, Kelpke S, Thompson JA: Alternatively spliced FGFR-1 isoforms differentially modulate endothelial cell activation of c-YES. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2006 Jun 1;450(1):50-62. PMID:16631103
  • Jiao J, Greendorfer JS, Zhang P, Zinn KR, Diglio CA, Thompson JA: Alternatively spliced FGFR-1 isoforms differentially modulate endothelial cell responses to peroxynitrite. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2003 Feb 15;410(2):187-200. PMID:12573278
  • Pritchard DG, Trent JO, Zhang P, Egan ML, Baker JR: Characterization of the Active Site of Group B Streptococcal Hyaluronan Lyase. Proteins. 2000 Jul 1;40(1):126-34. PMID:10813837