Wei Lei, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical
Email Dr. Lei
Office: 222


  • Postdoctoral research associate (2015-2019), Pharmacology, University of Arizona
  • Ph.D. Nutritional Immunology (2015), University of Missouri-Columbia
  • M.S. Regulatory Sciences, University of Arkansas
  • M.S. Basic Veterinary Science, Hunan Agricultural University
  • B.S. Veterinary Science, Hunan Agricultural University
  • Lecturer, Hunan Agricultural University (2006-2008)
Teaches in:
  • Biochemistry
  • Principles of Pathophysiology I/II
  • MTMs: GI/Nutrition; Endo/Repro
Research interests include:
  • Molecular pharmacology
  • Pain drug discovery
  • Nutritional Immunology
  • Nature compounds
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases
Recent Publications (* corresponding author)
  • Chen X, Drew J, Berney W, Lei W. Neuroprotective Natural Products for Alzheimer’s Disease. Cells. 2021; 10(6):1309. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10061309
  • Miles VN, Patel RK, Smith AG, McCall RP, Wu J, Lei W*. The Effect of Heat Shock Protein 90 Inhibitor on Pain in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Medicina 2021, 57(1), 5. doi:10.3390/medicina57010005.
  • Lindler BN, Long KE, Taylor NA, and Lei W*. Use of Herbal Medications for Treatment of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Medicines. 2020, 7 (11), 67. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines7110067.
  • Vekariya R, Lei W, Ray A, Sainai S, Zhang S, Molnar G, Barlow D, Karlage K, Bilsky E, Houseknecht K, Largent-Milnes T, Streicher J, and Ananthan S. Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationships of 5’-Aryl-14-alkoxypyridomorphinans: Identification of a Mu Opioid Receptor Agonist/Delta Opioid Receptor Antagonist Ligand with Systemic Antinociceptive Activity and Diminished Opioid Side Effects. Journal of Medical Chemistry. 2020, 63 (14):7663-7694. doi:10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c00503.
  • Duron DI, Lei W, Mishra S, Blagg B, and Streicher JM. Inhibition of Heat Shock Protein 90 in the Spinal Cord Strongly Promotes Morphine Anti-Nociception by Increasing ERK MAPK Activation. Science Signaling. 2020, 13: 630. DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaz1854.
  • Stine C, Flohrschutz AT, Mishra S, Blagg BS, Lei W, and Streicher JM. Heat Shock Protein 90 Inhibitors Block Cancer Pain Management by Opioid Drugs in Mouse Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy and Cancer Bone Pain Models. Pain. 2020 Apr 10. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001886.
  • Stefanucci A, Dimmito M, Macedonio G, Ciarlo L, Pieretti S, Novellino E, Lei W, Barlow D, Houseknecht K, Streicher J, and Mollica A. Potent, Efficacious and Stable Cyclic Opioid Peptides with Long Lasting Antinociceptive Effect after Peripheral Administration. Journal of Medical Chemistry. 2020 Mar 12;63(5):2673-2687. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b01963.
  • Lei W, Duron D, Stine C, Mishra S, Blagg BS, and Streicher JM. The Alpha Isoform of Heat Shock Protein 90 and the Co-Chaperones p23 and Cdc37 Promote Opioid Anti-Nociception in the Brain, Frontier in Molecular Neuroscience. 2019, 12:294. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2019.00294.
  • Lei W, Vekariya RH, Ananthan S, and Streicher JM. The mu/delta opioid dual agonist SRI22141 demonstrates increased anti-nociceptive efficacy with decreased tolerance and dependence in neuropathic pain models. Journal of Pain. 2019, S1526-5900(19)30745-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2019.05.017.
  • Stefanucci A, Lei W, Pieretti S, Novellino E, Dimmito M, Manzoli F, Streicher JM, and Mollica A. On resin click-chemistry-mediated synthesis of novel encephalin analogues with potent anti-nociceptive activity. Scientific Reports, 2019, 9(1):5771. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42289-5.
  • Stefanucci A, Lei W, Pieretti S, Novellino E, Dimmito M, Streicher JM, and Mollica A. Novel cyclic biphalin analogues by Ruthenium-catalysed ring closing metathesis: in vivo and in vitro biological profile. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2019, 10(4):450-456. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.8b00495.
  • Shah N, Kumar S, Zaman N, Pan CC, Bloodworth JC, Lei W, Streicher JM, Hempel N, Mythreye K, and Lee NY. Regulation of Microtubule Acetylation and Intracellular Transport by TGF-β Activated Kinase 1 (TAK1). Nature Communication, 2018, 9(1):1696. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04121-y.
  • Lei W, Mullen N, McCarthy S, Brann C, Richard P, Cormier J, Edwards K, Bilsky EJ, and Streicher JM. Heat Shock Protein 90 (Hsp90) Promotes Opioid-Induced Anti-Nociception by an ERK Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) Mechanism in Mouse Brain. Journal of Biological Chemistry, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.769489.
  • Stefanucci A, Lei W, Hruby VJ, Streicher, JM, and Mollica A. Evaluation of Opioid Peptide Cyclic Analogues of Biphalin and DPDPE with a Fluorescein-Maleimide Linker as Fluorescent Labeled Bioconjugates. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2017, 9(9):859-869. doi: 10.4155/fmc-2016-0232.
  • Olson KM, Lei W (Co-First Author), Keresztes A, LaVigne JE, Streicher JM. Novel Molecular Strategies and Targets for Opioid Drug Discovery for the Treatment of Chronic Pain. Yale Journal of Biology & Medicine, 2017, 90, pp.97-110.
  • Lei W, Browning JB Jr, Eichen PA, Rottinghaus GE, Folk WR, Sun GY, Lubahn DB, and Fritsche KL. An Investigation into the Immunomodulatory Activities of Sutherlandia frutescens in Healthy Mice. PLoS ONE, 2016, 11(8): e0160994. doi:10.1371/journal.pone. 0160994.
  • Lei W, Browning JB Jr, Eichen PA, Rottinghaus GE, Folk WR, Sun GY, Lubahn DB, and Fritsche KL. Immuno-stimulatory activity of a polysaccharide- enriched fraction of Sutherlandia frutescens occurs by the toll-like receptor-4 signaling pathway. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2015, 172: 247-253.
  • Lei W, Browning JB Jr, Eichen PA, Brownstein KJ, Folk WR, Sun GY, Lubahn DB, Rottinghaus GE, and Fritsche KL. Unveiling the anti-inflammatory activity of Sutherlandia frutescens using murine macrophages. International Immunopharmacology, 2015, 29(2): 254-262.
  • Jiang J, Zong Y, Chuang DY, Lei W, Lu CH, Gu Z, Fritsche KL, Thomas AL, Lubahn DB, Simonyi A, and Sun GY. Effect of Elderberry Juice from Different Genotypes on Oxidative and Inflammatory Responses in Microglial Cells. Acta Hortic, 2015, 1061, 281-288.
  • Lu Y, Starkey N, Lei W, Li J, Cheng J, Folk WR, and Lubahn DB. Inhibition of Hedgehog- signaling driven genes in prostate cancer cells by Sutherlandia frutescens extract. PLoS ONE 2015, 10(12): e0145507. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145507.
  • Jiang J, Chuang DY, Zong Y, Patel J, Brownstein K, Lei W, Lu CH, Simonyi A, Gu Z, Cui J, Rottinghaus GE, Fritsche KL, Lubahn DB, Folk WR, and Sun GY. Sutherlandia frutescens Ethanol Extracts Inhibit Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Responses in Neurons and Microglial Cells. PLoS ONE, 2014, 9(2): e89748.
Book Chapters
  • Chen X, Smith A, Plummer C, and Lei W*. 2020. Heat Shock Proteins and Pain. Heat Shock Proteins in Inflammatory Diseases. Eds. Asea A and Kaur P. Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/7515_2020_20.
  • Lei W, Duron D, Stine C, and Streicher JM. 2019. Role of Heat Shock Protein 90 in Regulating Downstream Signal Transduction Cascades. Heat Shock Proteins in Signaling Pathways. Eds. Asea A and Kaur P. Springer International Publishing. Pp. 161-182. DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-03952-3.
Fun Facts:

I enjoy cooking, fishing, and traveling. I love spending time with family.