Cheng Ji

Research Medicine, Biochemical & Molecular Biology
Keck School of Medicine of USC

Research Topics

  • Organelle Stress & Liver Diseases;
  • Hepatotoxicity of anti-HIV Drugs and Alcohol;
  • Alcoholic Hyperhomocysteinemia;
  • Tackling Alcohol Intoxication with Nanotechnology

Research Images

Research Overview

Alcohol is harmful to our body and driving under the alcohol influence (DUI) increases crashes and fatalities resulting in huge economic losses. After its consumption, alcohol is readily distributed throughout the body in the blood stream and crosses biological membranes, which affect virtually all cellular biological processes. Alcohol abuse induces numerous pathological responses including endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondrial stress. ER stress, a condition under which unfolded protein accumulates in the ER, contributes to alcoholic disorders of major organs including liver, pancreas, heart and brain. Utilizing in vitro and in vivo models as well as cutting edge technologies, we study mechanisms underlying ER stress and liver injury. Identified mechanisms are directly or indirectly related to alcohol metabolism, which include toxic acetaldehyde and elevated homocysteine, oxidative stress, perturbations of calcium or iron homeostasis, alterations of SAM to SAH ratio, and abnormal epigenetic modifications. Therapies targeting the ER stress will benefit patients who have alcoholic disorders.

(1) Expression of GRP78 in hepatopulmonary syndrome. Gene. 2014; 537:115-119.
(2) Altered Methylation of ERAD in Alcohol-induced Liver Tumors. Frontiers in Genetics 2013; 4: 224
(3) Enzyme Nanocomplexes as Antidotes for Alcohol Intoxication
Nature Nanotech. 2013; 8:187
(4) ER stress, Cyclin D, ERα variants, and Liver Tumorigenesis
J Gastro. Hepatol. 2013; 28(3):576
(5) Tregs, MMP9/13, TGF-β and acute liver injury. J Mol Cell Biol. 2013; 5(6):369-79.