Pei Lab


Dr. Pei’s research interests include (1) cartilage, bone, intervertebral disc, and meniscus tissue engineering and regeneration; (2) adult stem cell proliferation and differentiation; (3) decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) and reconstruction of an in vitro 3D microenvironment; and (4) chondrogenic, osteogenic, and adipogenic signaling pathways and epigenetic regulation. In recent years, he has focused on the investigation of tissue-specific stem cells and dECM on cartilage regeneration. The findings from his laboratory indicate tissue-specific stem cells’ superiority in lineage-specific differentiation, providing evidence to support that synovium-derived stem cells (SDSCs) are a tissue-specific stem cell for chondrogenesis. Another major finding is that dECM deposited by SDSCs can serve as a promising and novel cell expansion system for cartilage tissue engineering, not only enhancing stem cell proliferation but also promoting expanded cell chondrogenic potential instead of (or even against) hypertrophy. Current projects target the influence of individual matrix protein, such as basement membrane proteins, on stem cells’ rejuvenation for tissue engineering and regeneration. dECM expanded SDSCs exhibited an enhanced anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity, suggestive of its potential application for the repair of cartilage defects in osteoarthritic patients.


The title of the currently active project is “Decellularized Matrix and Cartilage Regeneration,” funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) of NIH.


Dr. Pei received his Medical Degree in 1991 from Xuzhou Medical College, his Master’s Degree in 1996 from Shanghai Medical University and his PhD in 1999 from Beijing Medical University. He spent three years (1999-2002) as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), focusing on cartilage tissue engineering (under the supervision of Drs. Lisa Freed and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic in Bob Langer’s Lab). He subsequently spent another three years (2002-2005) as a Research Fellow in the Department of Orthopaedics, Brown University, focusing on stem cell and cartilage regeneration. In 2005, he accepted a position as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at West Virginia University (WVU). Following receiving tenure in 2011, he was promoted to Full Professor in 2017. He also holds an adjunct position in the Division of Exercise Physiology at WVU.

Dr. Pei has published 110+ articles, 3 book chapters, and 100+ abstracts. Since he joined WVU in 2005, his research activity has been continuously supported by grants from external funding agencies, such as the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (3 awards), AO Foundation (4 awards), and the National Institutes of Health (4 awards). Dr. Pei has served as a Member of the Faculty of 1000 for Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, Musculoskeletal Repair & Regeneration since 2013, and on the F1000 Research Advisory Board since 2014. He is a Standing Member (Membership & Bylaw Committee Meeting) of the International Cartilage Research Society (ICRS). Since 2010, Dr. Pei has also been on the Editorial Board for 10+ international peer-reviewed journals including Associate Editor for Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology and a Reviewer for 110+ journals (including PNAS, Biomaterials, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Science Advances, etc.). He also serves a Reviewer for the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) meeting abstracts (2007-), the ICRS conference abstracts (2016-), and 20+ national and international funding agencies. Dr. Pei has also been invited as a speaker or a Session Chair/Moderator for national and international conferences. More recently, Dr. Pei was granted the 2016 School of Medicine Dean’s Excellence Award for Research and the 2017 Vice President (VP)’s Award – Outstanding Achievement in Research and Scholarly Activities Award; he has been acknowledged as an Expertscape World Expert in Cartilage since 2019 (

If you are interested in joining the Pei Lab, please contact Dr. Pei at


Yixuan Amy Pei, B.S.

Amy received a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology in 2020 from Johns Hopkins University, where she gained experience working on a neuroscience research project on synaptic plasticity using a mouse model. She took a gap year to work as a Research Assistant in the Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Laboratory. Her research focuses on determining the influence of hypoxia and decellularized extracellular matrix on three-lineage differentiation of human fetal cells and expression of basement membrane proteins.

Jhanvee Patel

Jhanvee is a freshman majoring in Journalism at West Virginia University. She has been working in the lab as a RAP (Research Apprenticeship Program) student since 2020.

Makayla Anderson

Makayla is a sophomore in Exercise Physiology at West Virginia University. She has been working in the lab as a RAP student since 2020.


Ph.D. Students

  • Tyler Pizzute (09/2012 – 05/2017) currently works as a Cell & Gene Therapy Specialist at Cytiva. During his study in the Biomedical Science PhD Program, he published 7 peer-reviewed articles with four as the first author.
  • Ying Zhang (01/2011 – 12/2015) currently works as an Assistant Professor in Jining Medical University, China. During his study in the Mechanical Engineering PhD program, he published 13 peer-reviewed articles with six as the first author.
  • Jingting Li (05/2009 – 05/2014) currently works as an Associate Professor in Zhongshan University, China. During her study in the Biomedical Science PhD program, she published 22 peer-reviewed articles with ten as the first author. She also received the Outstanding Doctor of Philosophy Student Award in 2014.
  • Fan He (05/2006 – 12/2010) currently works as a Full Professor in Soochow University, China. During his study in the Biomedical Science PhD program, he published 17 peer-reviewed articles with four as the first author.

Master Students

  • Mark Shoukry (01/2009 – 08/2012) published 4 peer-reviewed articles with one as the first author during his Mechanical Engineering MS Program in WVU.
  • Yunbing Tan (08/2007 – 08/2009) currently works as a Software Engineer in GOOGLE. During his Mechanical Engineering MS Program in WVU, he published one first-authored article.

Medical Students

  • Zachary Werner (05/2016 – 08/2016)
  • Patrick Suggs (05/2014 – 08/2014)
  • Kevin Lynch (08/2013 – 05/2014) has two publications (1 first-author and 1 co-author).
  • James Ohliger (05/2013 – 08/2013) has one co-authored publication and won the Second Place in Oral Presentation (E.J. Van Liere Convocation and Research Day).
  • Doug Campbell (05/2012 – 08/2012) has two publications (1 first-author and 1 co-author) and won the Second Place in Oral Presentation (E.J. Van Liere Convocation and Research Day).
  • Brendan Jones (05/2011 – 08/2011) has two publications (1 first-author and 1 co-author) and an Oral Presentation at E.J. Van Liere Convocation and Research Day.
  • Robert Emest Brookover (05/2009 – 08/2009)
  • Ashley Rawson (05/2007 – 08/2007) has one co-authored publication and won the First Place in Poster Presentation (E.J. Van Liere Convocation and Research Day).

Orthopaedic Residents

  • Benjamin Giertych (2020 – 2021) with a manuscript in preparation.
  • Justin Vaida (2018 – 2019) has one co-authored publication.
  • Jonathan Karnes (2014 - 2015) has one first-authored publication.
  • David McConda (2011 - 2012) has one co-authored publication.
  • Alvin Jones (2010 - 2011) has one co-authored publication.
  • John Tidwell (2009-2010) has one first-authored and one co-authored publications.
  • Brandon Boyce (2006 - 2007) has two co-authored publications.

Undergraduate Students

  • Makayla Anderson (10/2020 - present), Exercise Physiology Major, RAP Program, WVU
  • Jhanvee Patel (05/2020 – present), Journalism Major, RAP Program, WVU
  • Lillian T. Bischof (10/2019 - present), Chemical Engineering Major, RAP Program, WVU
  • Joseph Cain (10/2019 - present), Exercise Physiology Major, WVU
  • Margaret Moss (08/2019 - present), Exercise Physiology Major, RAP Program, WVU
  • Amaya Jernigan (08/2019 – 05/2020), Biology Major, RAP Program, WVU
  • Emily Hayhurst (08/2018 – 05/2019), Biomedical Engineering Major, WVU
  • Keleigh Cochran (11/2017 – 05/2018), Exercise Physiology Major, WVU
  • Karlee Lobban (05/2016 - present) Biomedical Engineering Major, WVU
  • Hunter Snoderly (05/2016 – 08/2016), Biomedical Engineering Major, Honors SURE Program, WVU
  • Shanawar Ali Waris (05/2015 - 07/2016), Biomedical Engineering Major, Honors SURE Program, WVU
  • Joshua George Franklin (05/2015 - 08/2015), MedSTEP Program, Shepherd University
  • Taylor Mannalla (08/2014 – 08/2015), Biochemistry Major, WVU
  • Brian Donnelly (05/2014 – 07/2015), Chemical Engineering Major, Honors SURE Program, WVU
  • Tiffany Madison Shirkey (01/2014 – 05/2015), Biology Major, Honors 486 Capstone, WVU
  • Molly Donnelly (05/2014 – 01/2015), Biology Major, WVU
  • Justin Addicks (09/2011 – 12/2011), Biology Major, WVU
  • Bryce McDaniel (09/2011 – 12/2011), Exercise Physiology Major, WVU
  • Gideon Bollino (07/2010 – 12/2010), Exercise Physiology Major, WVU

Postdoctoral Visiting Scholars

  • Tianyou Li (09/2019 – 09/2020)
  • Gongming Gao (09/2018 – 09/2019)
  • Zhihua Lu (09/2018 – 03/2020)
  • Yuan Sun (07/2018 – 01/2019)
  • Wenshuai Fan (09/2017 – 07/2018)
  • Xiaolei Li (09/2017 – 09/2018)
  • Yiming Wang (09/2017 – 03/2019)
  • Sheng Zhou (07/2017 – 11/2020)
  • Karthikeyan Narayanan (04/01/2017 – 03/31/2018)
  • Tingliang Wang (10/2016 – 02/2018)
  • Yu Sun (09/2016 – 09/2017)
  • Qihai Liu (01/15/2010 – 1/14/2011)
  • Jihong Yan ( 09/2006 - 04/30/2007)
  • Lifeng Qi (02/10/2006 – 02/09/2007)