Liang-Jun Yan, PhD
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Education & Experience:
I received a BS in Biochemistry from Peking University in Beijing, China, a master degree in Biophysics and Biochemistry from the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences that is also in Beijing, China, and a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley. Following a postdoctoral stint at Southern Methodist University, I joined the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas as a faculty member. Prior to the current position, I had worked at UNT Health Science Center as a research associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience.
Teaching Areas & Interests:
In the College of Pharmacy, I have been involved in teaching biochemistry to P1 students as the course director, and also teach renal pharmacology, cardiovascular pharmacology, and dermatology/ears/eyes/nose/throat pharmacology to P2 students. Additionally, I am also a course director for a journal club course and have been training Pharm D students for research under the course PHAR7375. In Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, I have been teaching topics including mitochondria and mitochondrial pharmacology and neurobiology of aging.
Professional Activities & Awards:
I am a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Society for Redox Biology and Medicine, American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association. I have served on editorial boards and as an ad hoc reviewer for many journals. I have been a study section member reviewing grants for American Heart Association.
The long term goal of our research is to investigate the biochemical mechanisms of redox imbalance stress and its role in adult-onset metabolic syndrome. In particular, we are studying how mitochondrial redox sensitive proteins respond to reductive stress (as known as redox imbalance stress) and explore such responses as potential therapeutic targets for fighting aging-related metabolic diseases. Our current projects are focused on two NADH/NAD-dependent mitochondrial proteins: dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (DLDH) and complex I (NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase), both of which can be simultaneously analyzed by blue native gel electrophoresis and also show adaptive responses to NADH/NAD redox imbalance stress under pathophysiological conditions. The project on DLDH is to study its adaptive response as a viable druggable target for induction of stroke- or hypoxia tolerance and the mechanisms of this protein’s oxidative modifications in redox signaling and neuroprotection. The project on complex I is to study the mechanisms of complex I adaptive hyperactivity observed in diabetic pancreas and other tissues with goal of exploring strategies that down-regulating complex I hyperactivity by restoring NADH/NAD redox balance may serve as a therapeutic approaches for treating diabetes mellitus.