Dr. Aviva Shing Fung Chow
Assistant Professor
Dr. Aviva Shing Fung Chow
Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy
The University of Hong Kong
HKU Hubs

Assistant Professor

Dr. Aviva Shing Fung Chow (周聖峰)
BEng, PhD


  • Member of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)
  • Member of Controlled Release Society (CRS)


  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2018-now


Dr. Aviva Chow received his Bachelor degree of Chemical and Bioproduct Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He pursued his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmaceutics) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining the University of Hong Kong as an Assistant Professor, he worked as a technical lead and research scientist at Jacobson Pharma Corporation Limited for drug development and product reformulation.

Honours and Awards

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Enginnering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2018-now)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2015-now)
  • Outstanding Reviewer, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, Elsevier (2018)
  • Outstanding Reviewer, Chemical Enginnering Journal, Elsevier (2017)
  • Eli Lilly & Company Travelship Award (2011)
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Japan (PSJ) Travelship Award (2010)
  • Short-term Visiting Research Scholar, Department of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota (2009)

My Research Interests

  1. Crystal engineering for improving drug delivery and manufacturability
    • Identification and solid-state characterization of new crystalline form of drugs
    • Particle tailoring for optimizing pharmaceutical properties (e.g. particle size, particle size distribution, morphology, surface properties, mechanical properties and stability) through controlled unit processing (e.g. recrystallization, milling, spray drying, spray-freeze drying and supercritical fluid processing)
    • Mechanistic understanding of phase transformation of drug during pharmaceutical processing (e.g. blending, milling, granulation and tabletting) and storage

  2. Nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems for superior therapeutic outcome
    • Development of a technology platform for consistent nanoparticle production
    • Mechanistic understanding of the stabilization mechanism of drug nanoparticles through different characterization techniques such as XPS, TOF-SIMS and AFM
    • Understanding of particle size and surface effects on absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) of drug nanoparticles
    • Design and engineer novel polymeric nanoparticles for improved drug delivery to the brain/lung.

  3. Rational design of drug formulations and manufacturing processes
    • Application of Quality by Design principle for formulation and process development (e.g. DoE and PAT)
    • Formulation and process optimization through experimentation, mathematical modelling and statistical analysis
Photo of an isolated blood vessel rings in the organ chamber for measurement of isometric tension
Crystal packing patterns of a) Nicotinamide (viewed along a axis); b) Nicotinamide viewed along c axis. c) Ibuprofen (viewed along b axis); d) Ibuprofen-Nicotinamide cocrystal (viewed along a axis)

A typical tracing of the changes in isometric tension of an isolated blood vessel ring to increasing concentrations of a relaxing agent
TM-AFM phase images of the Curcumin nanoparticles prepared by Flash Nanoprecipitation

Selected Publications

  • K.Y. Wan, S.N. Wong, K.W. Wong, S.F. Chow*, A.H.L. Chow*. “Interplay between amphiphilic stabilizers and cholesterol in the stabilization of itraconazole nanoparticles prepared by flash nanoprecipitation”, Molecular Pharmaceutics (2019), 16 (1), 195-204
  • K.Y. Wan, K.W. Wong, A.H.L. Chow*, S.F. Chow*. “Impact of molecular rearrangement of amphiphilic stabilizers on physical stability of itraconazole nanoparticles prepared by flash nanoprecipitation”, International Journal of Pharmaceutics (2018), 542(1-2), 221-231.
  • S.N. Wong, S. Hu, W.W. Ng, X. Xu, K.L. Lai, T.W.Y. Lee, A.H.L. Chow, C.C. Sun, S.F. Chow*. “Cocrystallization of curcumin with benzenediols and benzentriols via rapid solvent removal”, Crystal Growth and Design (2018), 18(9), 5534-5546.
  • J. Tao, S.F. Chow, Y. Zheng. “Application of flash nanoprecipitation to fabricate poorly water-soluble drug nanoparticles”, Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B (2018) (in press)
  • K.L. Lai, Y. Fang, H. Han, Q. Li, S. Zhang, H.Y. Li, S.F. Chow, T.N. Lam, T.W.Y. Lee. “Orally-dissolving film for sublingual and buccal delivery of ropinirole”, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces (2018), 164, 9-18
  • C. Bi, X. Miao, S.F. Chow, W. Wu, R. Yan, Y. Liao, A.H.L. Chow, Y. Zheng. “Particle size effect of curcumin nanosuspension on cytotoxicity, cellular internalization, in vivo pharmacokinetics and biodistribution”, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine (2017), 13(3), 943-953.
  • S.F. Chow, K.Y. Wan, K.K. Cheng, K.W. Wong, C.C. Sun, L. Baum, A.H.L. Chow. “Development of highly stabilized curcumin nanoparticles by flash nanoprecipitation and lyophilization”, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics (2015), 94, 436-449.
  • S.F. Chow, C.C. Sun, A.H.L. Chow. “Assessment of the relative performance of a confined impinging jets mixer and a multi-inlet vortex mixer for curcumin nanoparticle production”, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics (2014), 88 (2) 462-471.
  • K.K. Cheng, C.F. Yeung, S.W. Ho, S.F. Chow, A.H.L. Chow, L. Baum. “Highly stabilized curcumin nanoparticles tested in an in vitro blood brain barrier model and in Alzheimer’s disease Tg2576 mice”, The AAPS Journal (2013), 15(2), 324-336.
  • S.F. Chow, L. Shi, W.W. Ng, K.H.Y. Leung, K. Nagapudi, C.C. Sun, A.H.L. Chow. “Kinetic entrapment of a hidden curcumin cocrystal with phloroglucinol”, Crystal Growth and Design (2014), 14(10), 5079-5089.
  • S.F. Chow, M. Chen, L. Shi, A.H.L. Chow, C.C Sun. “Simultaneously improving the mechanical properties, dissolution performance, and hygroscopicity of ibuprofen and flurbiprofen by cocrystallization with nicotinamide”, Pharmaceutical Research (2012), 29(7), 1854-1865.

Seeking PhD candidates

We are looking for high-calibers graduate students interested in the research areas of crystal engineering, nanoparticle-based drug delivery system and solid-state science. Full-time postgraduate students are normally eligible to receive a Postgraduate Scholarship (HKD 16,660-17,120 per month) during the normative study period. Outstanding Ph.D. applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship scheme (https://cerg1.ugc.edu.hk/hkpfs/index.html), which provides a monthly stipend of HKD 25,100 plus a conference allowance per year.

Our current research topics include:

  • Design, preparation and characterization of pharmaceutical cocrystals
  • Formulation development of drug nanoparticles for superior drug delivery to the brain and lung
  • Mechanistic study of the physical stability of polymeric drug nanoparticles

For further information, please email Dr. Aviva Chow with your up-to-date CV (asfchow@hku.hk).

Research Collaborators

  • Prof. Calvin Changquan Sun, Department of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Thomas WY Lee, Aptorum Therapeutics Limited, Hong Kong
  • Dr. Philip Kwok, University of Sydney
  • Prof. KL Yeung and Dr. Richard Lakerveld, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Prof. Henry HY Tong, School of Health Sciences, Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macau SAR
  • Dr. Ying Zheng, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macau SAR


2/F, 21 Sassoon Road, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Laboratory Block, Faculty of Medicine Building, Hong Kong SAR, China