Dr. Lien's research has involved the study of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of neuromuscular blocking agents. Development of new nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents and the nature of recovery from neuromuscular blockade are among her primary interests. She was involved in the Phase 1 development of cisatracurium and described its pharmacodynamic and hemodynamic effects. She was the principal investigator in studies of new neuromuscular blocking and reversal agents. These studies involved volunteer trials of 430A, a new nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking agent with a rapid onset of effect and an ultra-short duration of action. They also included work with Org25969, a cyclodextrin, that rapidly reverses neuromuscular block induced with steroidal muscle relaxants.
Studies of recovery of neuromuscular function have attempted to define characteristics that impact on the dynamics of recovery. Dr. Lien's studies have examined ways to predict the time-course of recovery from mivacurium-induced neuromuscular block, interpatient variability of recovery of neuromuscular function following administration of muscle relaxants and recovery of function in the larynx following administration of neuromuscular blockers.
Other interests include postoperative cognitive function in geriatric patients receiving general anesthesia. In this 5-year study she is examining the impact of nitrous oxide administration on cobalamin levels and the results of postoperative cognitive examination.