Changquan Calvin Sun, PhD

Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Associate Department Head, Department of Pharmaceutics
Headshot of Dr. Changquan Calvin Sun wearing a light blue collared shirt and red tie.


Office Phone
Office Address

9-127B Weaver-Densford Hall
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States


Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Associate Department Head, Department of Pharmaceutics


PhD in Pharmaceutics, University of Minnesota

BS in Pharmacy, Shanghai Medical University

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  • Formulation
  • Solid-state chemistry
  • Powder technology
  • Crystal engineering
  • Materials science and engineering

Awards & Recognition

  • December 2022: Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • 2022: David J.W. Grant NIPTE Distinguished Scholar Award in Basic Pharmaceutics
  • 2022, 2021, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2013 & 2009: Top Reviewer for Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • September 2019: International Pharmaceutical Excipient Council (IPEC) Ralph Shangraw Memorial Award
  • April 2019: Outstanding Reviewer for the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • 2018, 2017, 2016, 2013 & 2009: Top Reviewer for Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • 2018: Top Reviewer for Chemistry in Publons
  • 2018: Top Reviewer for Pharmacology and Toxicology for Publons
  • 2017: Top Reviewer for Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Pharmaceutics in Publons
  • November 2017: Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • November 2016: Fellow of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
  • September 2014: China 100 Distinguished Chinese Alumni of the University of Minnesota
  • July 2014: PhRMA Foundation Sabbatical Fellowship
  • 2009: Top Reviewer for Molecular Pharmaceutics
  • November 2008: AAPS New Investigator Award
  • 1999 to 2000: AFPE Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Professional Associations

  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
  • American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
  • American Chemical Society

Research Summary

Our research focuses on manufacturing science of solid dosage forms, such as tablets and capsules. Formulation and process development is achieved by a clear scientific understanding of powders, including their flow and compaction properties. In this way, design replaces trial and error, and improved quality results.

We rely on three levels of control to attain the desired powder properties for successful manufacturing: (1) study and specification of the physico-mechanical properties of drugs; (2) incorporation of appropriate excipients for optimum mechanical properties; and (3) optimization of processes such as mixing, granulation, and compaction, based on a mechanistic understanding.

Our current research interests include:

  • Solubilization of poorly water-soluble drugs and other chemicals;
  • Crystal engineering for superior pharmaceutical properties of drugs (e.g., the development of a crystal structure–mechanical property relationship based on molecular modeling, crystallography, and nano-indentation);
  • Isolation and characterization of various solid forms, e.g., glasses, salts, cocrystals, and polymorphs, of drugs and excipients based on a thorough understanding of thermodynamics and kinetics of amorphization and crystallization phenomena;
  • Understanding and improving solid-state stability of drugs or excipients during processing and storage (e.g., glass to crystal, crystal to glass, and one polymorph to another);
  • Particle engineering for enhancing powder properties through controlled processes, such as crystallization, milling, and nano-coating;
  • Rational design of high-quality solid dosage forms based on mechanical properties of drug, excipients, and their interactions in a powder mixture (in addition to considering common criteria, such as chemical stability and hygroscopicity);
  • Mechanistic understanding of common pharmaceutical processes, such as granulation, milling, compaction, and coating, through both experimentation and computer modeling.

By systematically applying materials science principles to pharmaceutical systems, we will clearly define functionality of existing excipients and develop new types of excipient, including crystalline, polymeric, and co-processed powders.

Research Interests

  • Crystal Engineering
  • Particle Design
  • Formulation
  • Powder Technology
  • Drug Solubilization
  • Solid-state Science
  • Manufacturing Science


For an updated list of publications, visit Professor Sun's Google Scholar and ResearchGate profiles.