Tonglei Li

Allen Chao Chair and Professor of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy
Official web page:
Specialization: Solid-state organic chemistry, computational chemistry, formulation, and drug delivery


BS, Chemistry, Nankai University, China, 1988
MS, Comp. Chemistry, Nankai University, China, 1991
MS, Computer Science, Purdue University, 1997
PhD, Pharmaceutics, Purdue University, 1999


Dr. Li's research interests include solid-state chemistry, formulation and drug delivery. He has a long-standing passion for molecular modeling, simulation, and ab initio methods. His recent focus has been on applying electronic calculation methods for describing intermolecular approaches. Combining experimental and computational approaches, his laboratory aims to understand crystal packing and discover molecular mechanisms of crystal growth and other phase transition behaviors. The ultimate goal is to predict physicochemical and mechanical properties and drug action kinetics in humans based on the molecular structure of a drug compound.

Lab Members

Yong Chen (Visiting Scholar with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Clairissa D. Corpstein (PULSe Graduate Student with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Peng Hou (Post-Doctoral Research Associate with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Bing Hu (Visiting Scholar with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Nicholas J. Huls (Graduate Student with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Jianhua Li (Visiting Scholar with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Yue Li (PULSe Graduate Student with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Ailin Liu (Visiting Scholar with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Shan Lu (Graduate Student with Tonglei Li)
Yonghui Qiao (Visiting Scholar with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Kanupriya Verma (Visiting Scholar with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Jian Zhang (Visiting Scholar with Tonglei Li)
Jifen Zhang (Visiting Scholar with Dr. Tonglei Li)
Fudan Zheng (PULSe Graduate Student with Dr. Tonglei Li)

Representative Publications

Arjun Kalra, Joseph W. Lubach, Eric J. Munson, and Tonglei Li, Exploring Molecular Speciation and Crystallization Mechanism of Amorphous 2-Phenylamino Nicotinic Acid, Pharmaceutical Research, 35:51, 2018, DOI: 10.1007/s11095-018-2346-0

Arjun Kalra, Mingtao Zhang, Sean Parkin and, Tonglei Li, Crystal packing and crystallization tendency from the melt of 2-((2-ethylphenyl)amino)nicotinic acid, Zeitschrift für Kristallographie - Crystalline Materials, 233:9-16, 2018, DOI: 10.1515/zkri-2017-2070

Arjun Kalra, Paul Luner, Lynne S. Taylor, Stephen R. Byrn, and Tonglei Li, Gaining Thermodynamic Insight From Distinct Glass Formation Kinetics of Structurally Similar Organic Compounds, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 107:192-202, 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.xphs.2017.06.012

Yike Xie, Baokui Shi, Fei Xia, Jianping Qi, Xiaochun Dong, Weili Zhao, Tonglei Li, Wei Wu, and Yi Lu, Epithelia transmembrane transport of orally administered ultrafine drug particles evidenced by environment sensitive fluorophores in cellular and animal studies, Journal of Controlled Release, 270:65-75, 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2017.11.046

Weiwei Tang, Huaping Mo, Mingtao Zhang, Sean Parkin, Junbo Gong, Jingkang Wang, and Tonglei Li, Persistent Self-Association of Solute Molecules in Solution, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 121:10118-10124, 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b07763

Sihui Long, Tengfei Mao, Peng Chen, Meng Liu, Sean Parkin, Mingtao Zhang, Tonglei Li, Panpan Zhou, and Faquan Yu, Strong Hydrogen Bond Leads to a Fifth Crystalline Form and Polymorphism of Clonixin, Chemistry Select, 2:4942 – 4950, 2017, DOI: 10.1002/slct.201700947

Weiwei Tang, Huaping Mo, Mingtao Zhang, Junbo Gong, Jingkang Wang, and Tonglei Li, Glycine’s pH-Dependent Polymorphism: A Perspective from Self-Association in Solution, Crystal Growth and Design, 17:5028−5033, 2017 DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.7b00969

Sharad Mangal, Wei Gao, Tonglei Li, Qi Zhou, Pulmonary delivery of nanoparticle chemotherapy for the treatment of lung cancers: challenges and opportunities, Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 38:782–797, 2017, DOI: 10.1038/aps.2017.34

Weiwei Tang, Mingtao Zhang, Huaping Mo, Junbo Gong, Jingkang Wang, and Tonglei Li, Higher-Order Self-Assembly of Benzoic Acid in Solution, Crystal Growth & Design, 17:5049−5053, 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.7b01078

Meng Liu, Chuming Yin, Peng Chen, Mingtao Zhang, Sean Parkin, Panpan Zhou, Tonglei Li, Faquan Yu, and Sihui Long, sp2CHâ�¯Cl hydrogen bond in the conformational polymorphism of 4-chloro-phenylanthranilic acid, CrystEngComm, 19:4345–4354, 2017, DOI: 10.1039/c7ce00772h

Guoguang Wei, Sharad Mangal, John Denman, Thomas Gengenbach, Kevin Lee Bonar, Rubayat I.Khan, Li Qu, Tonglei Li, Qi Zhou, Effects of Coating Materials and Processing Conditions on Flow Enhancement of Cohesive Acetaminophen Powders by High-Shear Processing With Pharmaceutical Lubricants, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 106:3022-3032, 2017, DOI:

X Zhang, H Wen, J Fan, B Vince, T Li, W Gao, M Kinjo, J Brown, W Sun, W Jiang, and R Lionberger, Integrating In Vitro, Modeling, and In Vivo Approaches to Investigate Warfarin Bioequivalence, CPT Pharmacometrics & System Pharmacology, 6:523-531, 2017, DOI: 10.1002/psp4.12198

Wei Gao, Deborah Lee, Zhengjie Meng, Tonglei Li, Exploring intracellular fate of drug nanocrystals with crystal-integrated and environment-sensitive fluorophores, Journal of Controlled Release, 267:214-222, 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2017.08.031

Arjun Kalra, Patrick Tishmack, Joseph W. Lubach, Eric J. Munson, Lynne S. Taylor, Stephen R. Byrn, and Tonglei Li, Impact of Supramolecular Aggregation on the Crystallization Kinetics of Organic Compounds from the Supercooled Liquid State, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 14, 2126−2137, 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00245

Haichen Nie, Yongchao Su, Mingtao Zhang, Yang Song, Anthony Leone, Lynne S. Taylor, Patrick J. Marsac, Tonglei Li, and Stephen R. Byrn, Solid-State Spectroscopic Investigation of Molecular Interactions between Clofazimine and Hypromellose Phthalate in Amorphous Solid Dispersions, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 13:3964-3975, 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.6b00740

Wei Gao, Yan Chen, David H. Thompson, Kinam Park, and Tonglei Li, Impact of surfactant treatment of paclitaxel nanocrystals on biodistribution and tumor accumulation in tumor-bearing mice, Journal of Controlled Release, 237:168-176, 2016, 10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.07.015

Sihui Long, Mingtao Zhang, Panpan Zhou, Faquan Yu, Sean Parkin, and Tonglei Li Tautomeric Polymorphism of 4Hydroxynicotinic Acid, Crystal Growth & Design, 16:2573-2580, 2016, DOI:10.1021/acs.cgd.5b01639

Mingtao Zhang and Tonglei Li, Intermolecular Interactions in Organic Crystals: Gaining Insight from Electronic Structure Analysis by Density Functional Theory, CrystEngComm, 16:7162-7171, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/c4ce00411f.

Alessandra Mattei, and Tonglei Li, Solution Chemistry and Its Implication on Nucleation of Conformational Polymorphs: A Computational Study of Tolfenamic Acid by Explicit Solvation, Crystal Growth & Design, 14:2709-2713, 2014, DOI:10.1021/cg5000815.

Xi Lu, Yawei Zhang, Mingtao Zhang, Tonglei Li, The Effect of Substituents on the Hydrogenation of an Aldehyde Catalyzed by Knölker's Catalyst, Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 749:69-74, 2014.

Ying Lu, Zhaohui Wang, Tonglei Li, Helen McNally, Kinam Park, and Michael Sturek, Development and evaluation of transferrin-stabilized paclitaxel nanocrystal formulation, Journal of Controlled Release, 176:76-85, 2014.

Hua Zhang, Xueqing Wang, Wenbing Dai, Richard A. Gemeinhart, Qiang Zhang, and Tonglei Li, Pharmacokinetics and Treatment Efficacy of Metastatic Lung Cancer by Camptothecin Nanocrystals, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 11:226-233, 2014.

Sihui Long, Panpan Zhou, Sean Parkin, and Tonglei Li, From Competition to Commensuration by Two Major Hydrogen-Bonding Motifs, Crystal Growth & Design, 14:27-31, 2014.

X. Lu, Y.Zhang, P. Yun, M. Zhang, and T. Li, The Mechanism for the Hydrogenation of Ketones Catalyzed by Knölker's Iron-Catalyst, Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 11:5264-5277, 2013.

A. Mattei, X. Mei, A. Miller, and T. Li, Pre-Nucleation Self-Association of Tolfenamic Acid: Solution Chemistry and Implication on Polymorph Formation, Crystal Growth & Design, 13:3303-3307, 2013.

C.P. Hollis, H.L. Weiss, M. Leggas, B.M. Evers, R.A. Gemeinhart, and T. Li, Biodistribution and Bioimaging Studies of Hybrid Paclitaxel Nanocrystals: Lessons Learned of the EPR Effect and Image-Guided Drug Delivery, Journal of Controlled Release, 172:12-21, 2013.

Panpan Zhou, Paul W. Ayers, Shubin Liu, and Tonglei Li, Local Reactivity Descriptors Based on Natural Bond Orbital Occupancy: Natural Orbital Fukui Functions (NOFFs) and their applications in the reaction mechanisms of addition reactions, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 14 (2012): 9890-9896.

Alessandra Mattei and Tonglei Li, Polymorph Formation and Nucleation Mechanism of Tolfenamic Acid in Solution: An Investigation of Pre-Nucleation Solute Association, Pharmaceutical Research, 29:460-470, 2012.

Tonglei Li, Alessandra Mattei, and Panpan Zhou, Electronic Origin of Pyridinyl N Being A Better Hydrogen-Bonding Acceptor Than Carbonyl O, CrystEngComm, 13:6356-6360, 2011.

Rongsheng Zhao, Christin P. Hollis, Hua Zhang, Lili Sun, Richard A. Gemeinhart, and Tonglei Li, Hybrid Nanocrystals: Achieving Concurrent Therapeutic and Bioimaging Functionalities Toward Solid Tumors, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 8:1985-1991, 2011.

Hua Zhang, Christin P. Hollis, Qiang Zhang, and Tonglei Li, Preparation and Antitumor Study of Camptothecin Nanocrystals, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 415:293-300, 2011.

Sihui Long and Tonglei Li, Phase Transition from Two Z’ = 1 Forms to A Z’ = 2 Form of A Concomitant Conformational Polymorphic System, Crystal Growth & Design, 11:414-421, 2011.

Paul W. Ayers, Shubin Liu, and Tonglei Li, Stability Conditions for Density Functional Reactivity Theory: An Interpretation of the Total Local Hardness, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 13:4427-4433, 2011.

Sihui Long and Tonglei Li, Enforcing Molecule’s π-Conjugation and Consequent Formation of the Acid-Acid Homosynthon over the Acid-Pyridine Heterosynthon in 2-Anilinonicotinic Acids, Crystal Growth & Design, 10:2465-2469, 2010.

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