Department of Anesthesiology

Pei Tang, PhD

  • Professor of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Chemical Biology, and Computational and Systems Biology
  • Graduate Faculty, Carnegie Mellon – University of Pittsburgh PhD Program in Computational Biology, Molecular Biophysics, and Structural Biology, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program, and MD/PhD Training Programs

Dr. Tang’s group is interested in the molecular mechanisms of general anesthesia. Using a hydrate biophysical approach, we have been working on two major projects. The first one is to determine high-resolution structures of neurotransmitter-gated receptor channels, such as neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. These receptors are not only the targets for general anesthetics, but also for CNS therapeutics. Since the current structural information of these receptors is still very limited, our research will provide valuable structural bases for searching for drug binding sites. The second project aims to understand how low affinity drugs, including inhaled and intravenous general anesthetics, modulate protein motions that ultimately have impact on protein functions. Through our experiments and computations, we are testing our new hypothesis: the lock and key relationship does not accurately describe the action of low affinity drugs on proteins, the modulation on protein motions is the mechanistic underpinnings of action of general anesthetics and other low affinity drugs.

The Road to La-La Land

Education & Training

  • University of Science and Technology of China, BS, Chemistry
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, PhD, Chemistry
  • University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Representative Publications

Dr. Tang's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research, clinical, and/or academic interests

Structural biology
Computational chemistry
Molecular mechanisms of general anesthesia

For more information, please visit the Tang Lab web page.