Photo of Peng, Zhangli

Zhangli Peng, PhD

Assistant Professor

Center for Bioinformatics and Quantitative Biology

Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering


Building & Room:

Clinical Science North (CSN) 164F


820 South Wood Street, MC 563, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:

(312) 996-7467

Related Sites:



Webex Link:

Principle Investigator: Center for Bioinformatics and Quantitative Biology

Research Interests: Multiscale Modeling; Biomechanics and Biophysics of Cells, Organelles, Molecules, and Tissues; Modeling of Microfluidics, Nanofluidics, and Finite-Reynolds-Number Flows.



My research area is computational science and engineering, especially multiscale modeling. My research directions include  biophysics of molecules/organelles/cells/tissues, red blood cell mechanics, DNA/RNA dynamics, primary cilia, blood vessel walls, microfluidics, nanofluidics. Specifically, the current goal of my group is to apply multiscale modeling to predict how mutations and modifications of cytoskeletal proteins and other structural proteins affect the biomechanics and mechanobiology of cells and tissues within in vitro and in vivo microenvironments. The multiscale modeling can also be applied to understand the mechanisms of related diseases such as hematologic disorders, malaria, and cancer metastasis. In pursuit of this goal, the objective of my group is to integrate atomistic-based simulations such as all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) and coarse-grained dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) with continuum-based modeling approaches such as finite element method (FEM) and boundary element method (BEM) to model the cell-microenvironment interactions starting from the molecular scales, and to work closely with experimental collaborators for validations and hypothesis testing. My group is also applying multiphysics modeling to help develop mechanical-based, acoustic-based, thermal-based, and electric-based microfluidics/nanofluidics for disease diagnostics. In addition, I also studied several types of bio-inspired structures, including a flow energy harvester of flapping foils inspired by fish swimming, nacre shells, and tensegrity structures.

Selected Publications

Sebastian Sensale, Zhangli Peng, and H.Chia Chang. Biphasic Signals during Nanopore Translocation of DNA and Nanoparticles due to Strong Ion Cloud Deformation. Nanoscale, 2019, DOI:.10.1039/C9NR05223B

Justin Flaherty, Zhe Feng, Yuan-Nan Young, Zhangli Peng, and Andrew Resnick. Primary cilia have a length-dependent persistence length. Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology. 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s10237-019-01220-7.

Huijie Lu and Zhangli Peng. Boundary integral simulations of a red blood cell squeezing through a submicron slit under prescribed inlet and outlet pressures, Physics of Fluids, 31:031902, 2019, featured as Editor’s choice.

Sebastian Sensale, Zhangli Peng, and H.Chia Chang. Acceleration of DNA Melting Kinetics Using Alternating Electric Fields. Journal of Chemical Physics,149(8):085102, 2018.

Xuejin Li, Huijie Lu, and Zhangli Peng, Continuum- and Particle-based Modeling of Human Red Blood Cells. Handbook of Materials Modeling – Applications: Current and Emerging Materials, Edition: 4, Chapter: 11 1-16, Springer, 2018.

Sebastian Sensale, Zhangli Peng and H.-C. Chang. Kinetic theory for DNA melting with vibrational entropy, Journal of Chemical Physics, 147:135101. 2017.

Yan Bao, Dai Zhou, J.J. Tao, Zhangli Peng, H.B. Zhu, Z.L. Sun, and H.L. Tong, Dynamic interference of two anti-phase flapping foils in side-by-side arrangement in an incompressible flow. Physics of Fluids, 29:033601, 2017.

Igor V. Pivkin*, Zhangli Peng*, George Em Karniadakis, Pierre A Buffet, Ming Dao, and Subra Suresh. Biomechanics of red blood cells in human spleen and consequences for physiology and disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., accepted, 2016. (* contributed equally).

Szu-Pei Fu, Zhangli Peng, Hongyan Yuan,R. Kfoury, and Y.-N. Young, Lennard-Jones type pair-potential method for coarse-grained lipid bilayer membrane simulations in LAMMPS. Computer Physics Communications, 2016.

Zhangli Peng, On-Shun Pak, Allen Liu, and Yuan-Nan Young. On the gating of mechanosensitive channels by fluid shear stress. Acta Mechanica Sinica, DOI 10.1007/s10409-016-0606-y.

Alexandra Witthoft, Alireza Yazdani, Zhangli Peng, Chiara Bellini, Jay D. Humphrey and George Em Karniadakis. A discrete mesoscopic particle model of the mechanics of a multi-constituent arterial wall. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, , 2015

Zhangli Peng, Yeng-Long Chen, Huijie Lu, Zehao Pan, Hsueh-Chia Chang. Mesoscale simulations of two model systems in biophysics: from red blood cells to DNAs. Computational Particle Mechanics, 4:339-357, 2015

Peng Li, Zhangming Mao, Zhangli Peng, Lanlan Zhou, Yuchao Chen , Po-Hsun Huang , Cristina I. Truica, Joseph J. Drabick, Wafik S. El-Deiry, Ming Dao, Subra Suresh, and Tony Jun Huang. Acoustic Separation of Circulating Tumor Cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 112:4970–4975. 2015  MIT News, Youtube

Zhangli Peng, Sara Salehyar and Qiang Zhu. Stability of the Tank Treading Modes of Erythrocytes and Its Dependence on Cytoskeleton Reference States. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 771:449–467. 2015, ,

Xiaoyun Ding*, Zhangli Peng*, Sz-Chin Steven Lin, Michela Geri, Sixing Li, Peng Li, Yuchao Chen, Ming Dao, Subra Suresh and Tony Jun Huang. Cell Separation Using Tilted-Angle Standing Surface Acoustic Waves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., (* contribute equally).  

Xuejin Li, Zhangli Peng, Huai Lei, Ming Dao and George Em Karniadakis,. Probing red blood cell mechanics, rheology and dynamics with a two-component multi-scale mode. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

Zhangli Peng, Adel Mashayekh, and Qiang Zhu. Erythrocyte responses in low shear rate flows – effects of non-biconcave stress-free state in cytoskeleton. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 742:96-118, 2014

Zhangli Peng, Xuejin Li, Igor V. Pivkin, Ming Dao, George Em Karniadakis, and Subra Suresh. Lipid-bilayer and cytoskeletal interactions in a red blood cell. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., 110:13356-13361, 2013.

Zhangli Peng, and Qiang Zhu. Deformation of the erythrocyte cytoskeleton in tank treading motions. Soft Matter, 9:7617-7627, 2013.

HeeSu Byun, Timothy R. Hillman, John M. Higgins, Monica Diez-Silva, Zhangli Peng, Ming Dao, Ramachandra R. Dasari, Subra Suresh, and YongKeun Park. Optical measurement of biomechanical properties of individual erythrocytes from a sickle cell patient. Acta Biomaterialia, 8:4130-4138, 2012.

Mythili Aingaran*, Rou Zhang*, Sue Law*, Zhangli Peng*, Evan Meyer, Monica Diez-Silva, Christof Gruering, Luis Ibanez, Tobias Spielmann, Chwee Teck Lim, Subra Suresh, Ming Dao and Matthias Marti. Host cell deformability is linked to transmission in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Cellular Microbiology, 14:983-993, 2012. (Featured as Editors’s Choice) (contribute equally)

Zhangli Peng, Robert J. Asaro, and Qiang Zhu. Multiscale modelling of erythrocytes in Stokes flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 686: 299-337, 2011.

Jiddu Bezares, Zhangli Peng, Robert J. Asaro, and Qiang Zhu. Macromolecular structure and viscoelastic response of the organic framework of nacre in Haliotis rufescens: a perspective and overview. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 38: 75-106, 2011.

Zhangli Peng, Robert J. Asaro, and Qiang Zhu. Multiscale modeling of erythrocyte membranes. Physical Review E, 81: 031904, 2010.

Zhangli Peng and Qiang Zhu. Energy harvesting through flow-induced oscillations of a foil. Physics of Fluids, 21: 123602, 2009.

Qiang Zhu and Zhangli Peng. Mode coupling and flow energy harvesting by a flapping foil. Physics of Fluids, 21: 033601, 2009.

Xingfei Yuan, Zhangli Peng and Shilin Dong, Baojun Zhao. A new tensegrity module -“Torus”. Advances in Structural Engineering, 11: 243-251, 2008.

Xingfei Yuan, Zhangli Peng, Shilin Dong. Study and application of tensegrity torus. China Civil Engineering Journal, 41: 8-13, 2008.

Xingfei Yuan, Zhangli Peng and Shilin Dong. Load-carrying capacity of welded hollow spherical joints subject to combined planar tri-directional axial force and bending moment. Journal of Zhejiang University (Engineering Science), 41: 1436-1442, 2007.

Zhangli Peng, Xingfei Yuan and Shilin Dong. Tensegrity torus. Spatial Structures, 13: 60-64, 2007.


Postdoc, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ph.D., University of California San Diego
M.S., Zhejiang University
B.S., Tongji University