Quancai Sun, Ph.D.

Quancai Sun, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Actively recruiting graduate students who are interested in Nutrition and Food Science




Quancai Sun-1

Get to know Dr. Sun


My expertise focuses on the mechanistic study of phytochemicals in the prevention of chronic diseases as well as food contaminants in the development of obesity, T2D, and colon inflammation. For this purpose, I use interdisciplinary approaches from food biochemistry, molecular biology, and omics to study:

1. Phytochemicals and their beneficial influence on human health
2. Dietary proteins/peptides and their beneficial influence on gut microbiota and colon health
3. Food contaminants and their potential influence on gut microbiota, colon health, as well as obesity.


  • B.A. Northwest A & F University
  • Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Postdoc. National University of Singapore

Publications and Other Scholarly Activities

  1. Gao, R., Qi, Z., Lin, J., Wang, G., Chen, G., Yuan, L., & Sun, Q.* (2023). Chondroitin Sulfate Alleviated Obesity by Modulating Gut Microbiota and Liver Metabolome in High-Fat-Diet-Induced Obese Mice. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 24, 9419-9428.
  2. Wang, G., Huang, Y., Gao, Y., Chen, G., Cui, L., Peng, Y., & Sun, Q.* (2023). The fat accumulation promotion effects of dihydrxytetraphenylmethane and its underlying mechanisms via transcriptome analysis. Current Research in Food Science, 7, 100534.
  3. Xu, W., Du, X., Li, J., Zhang, Z., Ma, X., Luo, D., … & Sun, Q.* (2022). SiNiSan, a medicinal food, alleviates liver injury by promoting hepatic stem cell differentiation via Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Phytomedicine, 99, 153969.
  4. Chu, Q., Sun, Q.*, Gao, R.* (2022). Purification and identification of anti-inflammatory peptides from sturgeon (Acipenser schrenckii) cartilage. Food Science and Human Wellness, 6, 2175-2183.
  5. Yang, B., Yuan, L., Zhang, W., Sun, Q.*, & Gao, R.* (2022). Sturgeon protein-derived peptide KIWHHTF prevents insulin resistance via modulation of IRS-1/PI3K/AKT signaling pathways in HepG2 cells. Journal of Functional Foods, 94, 105126.
  6. Gao, R., Yu, Q., Shen, Y., Chu, Q., Ge, C., Fen, S., & Sun, Q.* (2021). Production, bioactive properties, and potential applications of fish protein hydrolysates: developments and challenges. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 110, 687-699.
  7. Peng Y., Gan R., Li H., Gao R. Sun, Q.* (2020). Absorption, metabolism, and bioactivity of vitexin: recent advances in understanding the efficacy of an important nutraceutical. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 61, 1049-1064.
  8. Gao, R., Shen, Y., Shu, W., Jin, W., Bai, F., Wang, J., Zhang, Y., El-Seedi, H., Sun, Q.* and Yuan, L.*, (2020). Sturgeon hydrolysates alleviate DSS-induced colon colitis in mice via modulation of NF-ĸB, MAPK, and microbiota composition. Food & Function, 11, 6987-6999.
  9. Sun, Q., Zhang, Z., Zhang, R., Gao, R. and McClements, D.J. (2018). Development of functional or medical foods for oral administration of insulin for diabetes treatment: Gastroprotective edible microgels. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 66(19), 4820-4826.
  10. Sun, Q., Lin, J., Peng, Y., Gao, R., & Peng, Y. (2018). Flubendiamide Enhances Adipogenesis and Inhibits AMPKα in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes. Molecules, 23(11), 2950.
  11. Sun, Q., Peng, Y., Qi, W., Kim, Y., Clark, J. M., Kim, D., &f Park, Y. (2017). Permethrin decreased insulin-stimulated AKT phosphorylation dependent on extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1 (ERK), but not AMP-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα), in C2C12 myotubes. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 109, 95-101.
  12. Sun, Q., Xiao, X., Kim, Y., Kim, D., Yoon, K. S., Clark, J. M., & Park, Y. (2016). Imidacloprid promotes high fat diet-induced adiposity and insulin resistance in male C57BL/6J mice. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 64(49), 9293-9306.
  13. Sun, Q., Xiao, X., Kim, D., Yoon, K. S., Clark, J. M., & Park, Y. Imidacloprid promotes high fat diet-induced adiposity in female C57BL/6J mice and enhance adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes via AMPKα-mediated pathway. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 65(31), 6572-6581.
  14. Sun, Q., Qi, W., Yang, J. J., Yoon, K. S., Clark, J. M., & Park, Y. (2016). Fipronil promotes adipogenesis via AMPKα-mediated pathway in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 92, 217-223.
  15. Sun, Q., Yue, Y., Shen, P., Yang, J. J., & Park, Y. (2016). Cranberry product decreases fat accumulation in Caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Medicinal Food, 19(4), 427-433.


Editorial Board Membership

  • Current Research in food science (associate editor)
  • Critical reviews in food science and nutrition (editorial board)
  • Food and Chemical Toxicology (editorial board)