Lead Researcher

Daryl Lawrence Davies, Ph.D. - Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

Dr. Davies is a Professor in the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the University Of Southern California School Of Pharmacy. In addition, he is the Director of the MS program in Management of Drug Development (Dept of Regulatory and Quality Sciences; School of Pharmacy) and the Director of Undergraduate Education at the School of Pharmacy. In this latter role, he was primarily responsible for the development and management of the School's first undergraduate Major: "Pharmacology and Drug Development," as well as a new Minor: "Science and Management of Biomedical Therapeutics." In addition, he serves as the undergraduate faculty adviser for the School of Pharmacy Trojan Admission Pre-Pharmacy (TAP) Program. Finally, he oversees the Science, Technology and Research (STAR) program, a cooperative venture in science education between the University of Southern California Health Sciences Campus and Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School in East Los Angeles. 

 

At the School of Pharmacy, Dr. Davies is considered a leading “translational scientist,” where he takes an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex biological questions. To this end, his group works with a team of collaborators at USC which use a combination of pharmacological, toxicological, electrophysiological, molecular, computational chemistry, molecular modeling, imaging and regulatory expertise to discover and develop new drugs for the treatment for alcohol abuse and other addictive disorders as well as neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. 


Alcohol abuse and dependence have a staggering socio-economic impact, yet current therapeutic strategies are largely inadequate to treat these disorders. Thus, the discovery and development of new compounds for use by individuals suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) is of paramount importance. To this end, Dr. Davies group is undertaking efforts to support a drug discovery program using ivermectin (IVM) as the lead compound for the development of novel P2X4 positive allosteric modulators. The long-term translational aspects of this project focus on the development of therapeutic treatment strategies for the treatment of AUD.  As a major step in this process, Dr. Davies' group latest efforts are focused on Moxidectin (MOX), an IVM analogue, where they have demonstrated that MOX has lower neurotoxicity potential and improved margin of safety compared to IVM. In that MOX is undergoing registration for human use for other indications (anti-parasitic), Dr. Davies' group is looking to repurpose MOX as a novel pharmacotherapy for AUD. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is funding this part of Dr. Davies investigations.


Dr. Davies also has over 15 years of investigating the safe and effect use of dietary supplements (e.g., traditional Chinese medications; TCMs) for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and neurodegenerative diseases. In collaboration with Dr. Jing Liang and other translational and clinical scientists at USC, he is investigating the potential of TCMs for the treatment of a multitude of human conditions including alcoholism, anxiety disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diseases of the liver and diabetes. As part of this effort, Dr. Davies is currently working to develop an Herbal Medication Testing Center at the School of Pharmacy. Several Key Goals of this Center will be to: 1) Verify the contents of a TCM product; 2) To ensure that there are not harmful levels of specified contaminants in the products; 3) To ensure that the products will break down and release into the body within specified amount of time and 4) To identify new, previously unrecognized uses for the TCMs.  In addition to quality and safety, a key function of this Center will be to establish an R&D component for the advancement of TCMs including preclinical and clinical publications reporting on the utility of TCMs for advancing human health in recognized peer reviewed Journals. Demonstrating consistency in safety, potency and quality of a product would be a key step in the development of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for FDA review. Collectively, these efforts would significantly increase the commercial value of the individual TCMs. 

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