Jing  Liang

Jing Liang, MD, PhD

Research Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

Curriculum Vitae

Research Topics

  1. Drug Development for Neurodegenerative Diseases
  2. Drug Development for Alcohol Use Disorder
  3. Drug Development for Anxiety Disorders
  4. Early Stage Drug Development for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  5. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Therapeutics
  6. Drug Safety Pharmacology and Toxicology
  7. Drug Discovery for Diabetes

Contact Information

  • Jing.liang.1@usc.edu
  • University of Southern California
    Health Sciences Campus
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-9121
  • PSC 400


MD. PhD. Dept. of Geriatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.
MD. Medicine. School of Medicine, Beijing University, China.

Jing Liang


Dr. Liang is a Research Professor of Clinical Pharmacy in the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy. Dr. Liang has over 25 years of experience in drug development from exploring compound(s), preclinical trials to clinical trials. The contributions and the drug developments include 1) Ginseng Saponin (preclinical and clinical trials); 2) OPC21268, an anti-hypertensive drug developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Japan; 3) Fasudil Hydrochloride (INN), a medication of subarachnoid hemorrhage (preclinical trials including safety/toxicity, and clinical trials); 4) Dihydromyricitin, as a medication for alcohol use disorders; and 5) DHM, as a therapeutic for Alzheimer’s disease/Dementia.

Dr. Liang has led her team and identified a flavonoid compound dihydromyricetin (DHM), purified from herbal medication—Hovenia as a candidate for medication for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Liang's team found that DHM has a high efficacy on Alzheimer's disease compared with FDA approved medications, such as Memantine. DHM can restore functional GABAergic synapses as well as improve recognition and memory/learning abilities. Notably, based on WHO 2016 report, the worldwide prevalence of AD was estimated to be 26.6 million in 2006, and an estimated 107 million individuals worldwide are expected to have AD by 2050. Therefore, this development provides hope for people who are suffering from cognition/memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Dr. Liang's team identified the Gephyrin-GABAAR pathway as a new mechanism/molecular target for treatment of central nervous system disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Liang has been a Principal Investigator and collaborator of Dr. Richard W. Olsen, Distinguished Professor at UCLA, for more than 17 years studying mechanisms of GABAA receptor plasticity in Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The objectives are to determine the alterations in GABAAR subunit composition and function in brain areas of reward and dependence and relate them to the behavioral measures of withdrawal from single or multiple ethanol dosing. This long collaboration has created more than 30 publications.

After joining Dr. Daryl Davies' group at USC School of Pharmacy, in addition to teaching, Dr. Liang works with Dr. Davies to discover and develop novel therapeutics for treatments of neurodegenerative diseases and drinking related problems. With this teamwork, Dr. Liang and Dr. Davies have three publications. The long term goals of this work focus on the development of pharmacotherapeutic strategies for alcohol abuse and alcoholism. These efforts are also being supported by collaborations with Drs. James Trudell (Stanford University) and Gregg Homanics (University of Pittsburg) resulting in new molecular models of alcohol actions and a new line of transgenic animals that will provide novel tools for investigation into brain regions for alcohol actions. Interestingly, during the course of these efforts, we identified a novel brain mapping technique that will be useful for neuroscience and alcohol research communities.

At the USC Health Sciences Campus, Dr. Liang has built a collaboration with Dr. Daniel Philipp Holschneider to discover and develop novel therapeutics for anxiety disorders. Drs. Liang and Holschneider have also developed the social-isolation anxiety rat/mouse models that are associated with decreases in the expression of gephyrin and α2-GABAARs subunit in brain regions of anxiety/fear circuit. Notably, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population) and have been estimated to consume almost one-third of the country’s mental health bill over $42 billion a year. Currently, there are a number of clinically effective treatments for anxiety and associated psychiatric conditions, but unfortunately, a large segment of patients exhibit treatment-resistance to first-line interventions or substantial side effects suggesting a critical need for new pharmacotherapies for anxiety.

Dr. Liang has built collaborations not only in the United States, but also in other countries for the research of alcohol abuse, smoking problems and the Third Party Evaluation for drug/food safety, etc.