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Ping LiuProfessor Liu's main research areas are the neurobiological basis and interventions for cognitive decline during ageing, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, and the biological mechanisms of learning and memory. Her lab uses a combination of behavioural, in vivo microdialysis, neurochemical, molecular biological, immunohistochemical and electrophysiological approaches.

L-arginine is one of the most metabolically versatile amino acids. It can be metabolised to form a number of bioactive molecules, such as nitric oxide, agmatine and polyamines. Accumulating evidence suggests the involvement of arginine metabolism in the ageing process and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease. Professor Liu's research group is investigating the neurobiological basis of cognitive decline during ageing and Alzheimer's disease and exploring the therapeutic target(s) by focusing on arginine metabolism. Altered arginine metabolism is also implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The group is investigating two independent animal models of schizophrenia and how the arginine metabolic profile changes in post-mortem schizophrenic brain tissue.

Agmatine, decarboxylated arginine, is a putative novel neurotransmitter, and its functional role in learning and memory is poorly understood at present. Assoc Prof Liu's group is investigating how endogenous agmatine participates in the processes of learning and memory, and how exogenous agmatine modulates cognitive function under normal and diseased conditions.

Find out more about Professor Liu's research


Highet, B., Wiseman, J. A., Mein, H., Parker, R., Ryan, B., Turner, C. P., Jing, Y., … Liu, P., … Faull, R. L. M., … Curtis, M. A. (2023). PSA-NCAM regulatory gene expression changes in the Alzheimer's disease entorhinal cortex revealed with multiplexed in situ hybridization. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Advance online publication. doi: 10.3233/jad-220986

Deane, A. R., Jing, Y., Shoorangiz, R., Liu, P., & Ward, R. D. (2023). Cognitive and arginine metabolic correlates of temporal dysfunction in the MIA rat model of schizophrenia risk. Behavioral Neuroscience, 137(1), 67-77. doi: 10.1037/bne0000540

Mein, H., Jing, Y., Ahmad, F., Zhang, H., & Liu, P. (2022). Altered polyamine system in the P301S (PS19) tauopathy model. In K. Horne (Ed.), Proceedings of the 38th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research (AWCBR). (pp. 49). Retrieved from

Ahmed, S., Jing, Y., Mockett, B. G., Zhang, H., Abraham, W. C., & Liu, P. (2022). Partial endothelial nitric oxide synthase deficiency exacerbates cognitive deficit and amyloid pathology in the APPswe/PS1ΔE9 mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(13), 7316. doi: 10.3390/ijms23137316

Li, Z., Zhang, T., Xu, L., Wei, Y., Cui, H., Tang, Y., … Zhang, H., Liu, P., … Wang, J. (2022). Plasma metabolic alterations and potential biomarkers in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis. Schizophrenia Research, 239, 19-28. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2021.11.011

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