Liana  Asatryan

Liana Asatryan, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Clinical Pharmacy

Contact Information

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Liana Asatryan

Research Interest

A primary focus of my research is directed to the discovery and development of novel compounds for the treatment of alcohol use disorders (AUDs). AUDs rank third on the list of preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States, having a major national impact affecting over 18 million people and causing over 100,000 deaths annually. The economic burden to society for AUDs is in excess of $220 billion annually. Unfortunately, drug development for AUDs is a relatively young field compared to other diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and psychiatric disorders. Therefore, the development of new treatments for AUDs represents an important unmet medical need.

Our laboratory has recently demonstrated that ivermectin (IVM), an FDA approved antihelmintic medication already used in humans, is an attractive agent for the treatment of AUDs. The support for the latter originated from in vitro studies in P2X4 receptors as well in vivo work in mice. In the quest to improve IVM’s therapeutic potential to reduce AUDs, current studies in our lab are beginning to translate this discovery into new agents for preventing and /or treating AUDs. One of my primary efforts as a Research Assistant Professor in the Davies group is to lead the in vitro screen of the anti-alcohol potential of new chemical entities using in vitro pharmacology on recombinant P2X4 and GABAA receptors as model systems.

I am also developing a new line of investigation in our group that focuses on another P2X receptor subtype – the P2X7 receptor family member. P2X7 receptors have recently become an area of intense investigation in the fields of immunology and neuroscience with a focus on pain and neurodegeneration. My research interest in this area is twofold. First, I am investigating the role of P2X7Rs in the development of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration caused by alcohol. On this, I started a collaboration with the USC Research Center for Alcoholic Liver and Pancreatic Diseases (Director Dr. Tsukamoto). Second, I am investigating the role of P2X7Rs linked to neuroinflammation and how this effect may lead to cognitive dysfunction and neurodegenerative changes such as found in the brain of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients. This latter work is in collaboration with Drs. Rodgers, Davies and Louie at the USC School of Pharmacy.


Dr. Liana Asatryan is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Economics & Policy at the USC School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Asatryan earned her PhD in Biochemistry from the Institute of Molecular Biology, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 1994. From 1997 to 1999, she continued her research as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at USC School of Pharmacy. In 2009, Dr. Asatryan completed the Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research Design & Management in Regulatory Science at USC. In addition to her research responsibilities, Dr. Asatryan currently lectures in the Masters of Management of Drug Development in the International Center of Regulatory Science at USC.

Dr. Asatryan is a recipient of KO1 Career Development Grant from National Institutes of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse.

Since 2008, she has supervised the day-to-day operations of the Lentiviral Core Laboratory of the School of Pharmacy. Since 2013, she is a co-director of the Translational and Histology Core Laboratories at the School.

Selected Projects/Publications

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