Jing Liang, MD, PhD
Faculty Directory

Jing LiangMD, PhD

Jing LiangMD, PhD

Research Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy

Jing Liang has more than 25 years of experience in drug development from exploring compounds, preclinical trials to clinical trials. This work includes Ginseng Saponin (preclinical and clinical trials); OPC21268, an anti-hypertensive drug developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Japan; Fasudil Hydrochloride (INN), a medication of subarachnoid hemorrhage (preclinical trials including safety/toxicity and clinical trials); dihydromyricitin (DHM), as a medication for alcohol use disorders; and DHM, as a therapeutic for Alzheimer’s disease/dementia.

Liang led her team in identifying a flavonoid compound dihydromyricetin (DHM), purified from herbal medication—Hovenia—as a candidate for medication for Alzheimer’s disease. Her team found that DHM has a high efficacy on Alzheimer’s disease compared with Food and Drug Administration–approved medications such as Memantine. DHM can restore functional GABAergic synapses as well as improve recognition and memory/learning abilities. Based on a World Health Organization 2016 report, the worldwide prevalence of Alzheimer’s was estimated to be 26.6 million in 2006, and an estimated 107 million individuals worldwide are expected to have the condition by 2050. Therefore, this development provides hope for people who are suffering from cognition/memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Liang’s team also 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.

Areas of Expertise

  • Sleep Disorders
  • Neuroscience
  • Drug Development
  • Neurodegenerative Disease
  • GABA A Receptor
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Mitochondrial
  • Education

    University of Tokyo

    MD, PhD

    Beijing University


  • Links
  • Research Focus

    GABAA Receptors

    I have been a Principal Investigator and more than 20 year experience in the drug development. My research interests have been focusing on the mechanisms of GABAA receptors (GABAARs) and related protein as a target for alcohol actions and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. I have been a pioneer for developing flavonoid compounds extracted from herbs as a positive modulator of GABAARs. Those flavonoids can be candidate therapeutic for Alzheimer disease. We have established a NOVEL THEORY, impairment of gephyrin-GABAAR pathway to be the underlying mechanisms for Alzheimer's disease. Targeting this pathway, those flavonoids can restore gephyrin levels and restore GABAergic synaptic function, and reverse the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. As the consequence, cognition impairment, learning loss, and anxiety are substantially improved.

  • Selected Articles

    Dihydromyricetin ameliorates behavioral deficits and reverses neuropathology of transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease

    Neurochem Res

    2014 Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading progressive neurodegenerative disorder afflicting 35.6 million people worldwide. There is no therapeutic agent that can slow or stop the progression of AD. Human studies show that besides loss of cognition/learning ability, neuropsychological symptoms such as anxiety and seizures are seen as high as 70 and 17 % respectively in AD patients, suggesting dysfunction of GABAergic neurotransmission contributes to pathogenesis of AD.

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    Dihydromyricetin prevents fetal alcohol exposure-induced behavioral and physiological deficits: the roles of GABAA receptors in adolescence

    Neurochem Res

    2014 Fetal alcohol exposure (FAE) can lead to a variety of behavioral and physiological disturbances later in life. Understanding how alcohol (ethanol, EtOH) affects fetal brain development is essential to guide the development of better therapeutics for FAE. One of EtOH's many pharmacological targets is the γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptor (GABAAR), which plays a prominent role in early brain development.

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    Dihydromyricetin as a novel anti-alcohol intoxication medication

    J Neurosci

    2012 Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) constitute the most common form of substance abuse. The development of AUDs involves repeated alcohol use leading to tolerance, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and physical and psychological dependence, with loss of ability to control excessive drinking. Currently there is no effective therapeutic agent for AUDs without major side effects.

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    Central vasopressin is required for the complete development of deoxycorticosterone-salt hypertension in rats with hereditary diabetes insipidus

    J Auton Nerv Syst

    1997 It has been shown that vasopressin receptors are upregulated in the brain and that the central vasopressin pathway is involved in the development of deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertension. However, it is unclear whether central vasopressin, in itself, is essential for this type of hypertension.

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  • Affiliations
    • Member, Royal Society of Medicine: 2019-present

    • Member, Research Society on Alcoholism: 2002-present

    • Member, Society for Neuroscience: 2001-present

  • Accomplishments

    Selected and reported by New Scientist

    2012 London

    Shen et al., Dihydromyricetin As A Novel Anti-Alcohol Intoxication Medication

    2012 J. Neurosci. Selected as ‘Hottest Topic in the World’ by ScienceNews and ‘Faculty of 1000 Medication’.

    NIH Challenge Project Award


    Japanese Gerontology Society Post Doctorate Training Grant Award


  • Multimedia
    • Jing Liang, MD, PhD
    • Jing Liang, MD, PhD
  • Selected Media Appearances

    Can pedialyte really cure a hangover?

    Health | 01/29/2019

    The short answer: No. The only real cure for a hangover is time, says Jing Liang MD, PhD, a professor at USC School of Pharmacy. The longer answer: It’s possible Pedialyte could help quell a hangover faster than other so-called panaceas on the market, Dr. Liang says, but you shouldn’t rely on the beverage to improve the consequences of too much alcohol. “Recovery from a hangover is usually just a matter of time,” she says. “Most hangovers are gone within 24 hours.”...

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    The morning after: 82 labs evolves amid retail push

    Bevnet | 11/19/2018

    In anticipation of this expansion, 82 Labs has expanded its staff with several new hires. Lee said the company has built out its in-house product development team, which encompasses areas including regulatory compliance, quality control and formulation. The company has also previously partnered with researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) to fund studies on DHM, the natural flavanoid that serves as Morning Recovery’s functional ingredient. Dr. Jing Liang, MD, PhD, a professor at the school at USC who has published research on DHM, is a partner in 82 Labs...

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    Traditional Chinese hangover cure seen as potential Alzheimer’s disease treatment

    USC News | 08/20/2018

    Having shown the power of an ancient Chinese hangover remedy, Research Professor of Clinical Pharmacy Jing Liang is now determined to unlock the mysteries of its effectiveness. The answers she finds could lead to potential Alzheimer’s disease treatments and treatments for Parkinson’s, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and more...

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    82 Labs Draws $10M in Investor Funds for Hangover Remedy

    Los Angeles Business Journal | 04/18/2018

    Lee was on a trip to Korea, he said, when he noticed locals downing locally made hangover drinks after a hard night on the town – and “showing up to work the next day ready to go.” He partnered with Dr. Jing Liang at USC Mann to create Morning Recovery for 82 Labs Inc., based on a compound found in a Japanese raisin tree...

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    Silicon Valley, intent on disrupting food, is now taking aim at hangovers

    Quartz | 04/03/2018

    But not many companies have partnered with universities to research their own tonics. During Lee’s trip to his home country of South Korea, he found that hangover cures were already an established, multi-million product category in Asia. He decided to bring the hangover cure back home, and began working with Dr. Jing Liang, a professor at the school at the University of Southern California (USC), whose research showed how the active ingredient in many of these drinks— a flavonoid from the fruit of the Japanese raisin tree (Hovenia Dulcis)— could counteract the effects of alcohol...

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    Chinese tree extract stops rats getting drunk

    New Scientist | 01/09/2012

    Soon, a preparation containing DHM will be tested for the first time in people. “I would give it to problem drinkers who can’t resist going to the pub and drinking,” says pharmacologist Jing Liang of the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the research team.

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    New drug lets you enjoy a drink without getting drunk, and wake up without a hangover - at least if you're a rat

    Daily Mail | 01/06/2012

    'When you drink alcohol with DHM, you never become addicted,' says the lead researcher, Jing Liang in research published in Journal of Neuroscience. The drug appears to work by blocking a brain receptor. Other promising anti-alcohol drugs have targeted the same receptor - but also caused seizures.

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