Pei Zhou Headshot
Principal Investigator
Professor of Biochemistry
Professor of Chemistry
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Contact Information

Lab: 919-688-3703
Office: 919-868-6409
Fax 919-684-8885

USPS Mailing Address
Box 3711, DUMC
Durham, NC

Sands Building, Room 270

Research Interests

The Zhou lab is broadly interested in the interdisciplinary research at the interface of chemistry and biology. We employ biochemical and structural biology tools to investigate the molecular basis of enzymes and molecular machineries as well as their interactions with small molecules. Insights gained from these studies have enabled the development of novel antibiotics and cancer therapeutics, as well as disease-resistant crops and crop-protection chemicals. These compounds are in turn used as molecular probes to gain new insights into various signaling pathways in cells.

Education: PhD, Harvard University, 1998
More Information: Scholars at Duke

For the latest information on the Zhou Lab, please visit our website.


The Zhou lab focuses on the elucidation of the structure and dynamics of protein–protein and protein–ligand interactions and their functions in various cellular processes. Our current efforts are directed at enzymes and protein complexes involved in bacterial membrane biosynthesis, translesion DNA synthesis, co-transcriptional regulation, and host-pathogen interactions. Our investigations of these important cellular machineries have led to the development of novel antibiotics and cancer therapeutics, as well as the establishment of new biotechnology adventures.

The Zhou lab integrates a variety of biochemical and biophysical tools, including NMR, X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, and enzymology. The lab has played a major role in the development and application of innovative NMR technologies, including high-resolution, high-dimensional spectral reconstruction techniques.

Recent News

September 13, 2023: Congratulations to Jennifer Cheng, whose study in collaboration with Kinya Nomura and Felipe Andreazza in Prof. Sheng-Yang He and Ke Dong labs has elucidated the mysterious function of the DspE/AvrE family of bacterial effectors. Read More

August 9, 2023: Congratulations to Jinshi Zhao and Skyler Cochrane, whose study on a novel antibiotic LPC-233 has been published in Science Translational Medicine and featured in news at Duke and elsewhere.

May 11, 2022: Congratulations to Shivesh, Raul, and Qinglin for elucidating the molecule structure and mechanism of how NPR1 controls plant immunity. Read more on HHMI news and APS News.

April 30, 2021: Skyler Cochrane presented her research “Novel Sulfonyl Piperzine Antibiotics Targeting the Lipid A Biosynthetic Enzyme LpxH in Gram-negative Bacteria” during the Antibacterial Targets and Drug Discovery Spotlight Session at Experimental Biology Virtual Conference.

March 15, 2021: Congratulations to Skyler Cochrane for receiving the prestigious Jo Rae Wright Fellowship Award for Outstanding Women in Science! She is one of two awardees being recognized for her research that shows particular creativity and promise.

April 21, 2020: When Drs. Pei Zhou, Ashley Chi, and team determined the inner workings of the protein MESH1, they discovered how human cells deal with stressors and nutrient depletion. Read More

June 6, 2019: Congratulations to Jessica Wojtaszek, Javaria Najeeb, Ben Fenton and their colleagues for the discovery of a small molecule adjuvant that stems cancer drug resistance. The research is published in Cell today! Read more on EurekAlert! & ScienceDaily.

Lab Members