Samuel A. Molina, PhD

Instructor of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

Associate Director of the Experimental Models Support Core

Emory + Children's Center for Cystic Fibrosis and Airways Disease Research

Phone: 404.727.5287



  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Airway Cell Biology, Emory University, 2017
  • PhD, Biochemistry, Kansas State University, 2012
  • Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology, Michigan State University, 2005


Focus Area

Basic and translational Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD) research: Signal transduction regulating tight junction and nutrient transporter function in airway epithelial cells.

Research Focus

Dr. Molina’s research focuses on understanding how airway epithelia regulate nutrient sources made available to microbes that chronically inhabit the airway in CF, CFRD, and diabetic patients. The airways of CF patients are rich with microbial communities that must maintain their colonization by utilizing the available nutrients. His research has shown that glucose, among other nutrients, is available to the microbes inhabiting the airways of CF-KO mice and within in vitro models of the human CF airway through defective paracellular sealing tight junctions and defective Glut4 glucose transporter regulation. Evidence generated by Drs. Molina, McCarty, and Koval point to an inherent defect in PI3K/Akt intracellular signaling in CF airway epithelial cells. By understanding the cross talk between insulin signaling and nutrient transport in the airway, he aims to translate the clinical data linking the increased concentrations of amino acids and sugars in the airways of CF patients to increased exacerbations in CFRD patients through translational in vitro models. Dr. Molina’s research will inform the community of available drugs that could become an adjunct therapy, preventive or therapeutic, for CF patients with an eye towards decreasing the frequency of exacerbations and limiting the progression of lung damage.


Recent Publications

Bedi B, Maurice NM, Ciavatta VT, Lynn KS, Yuan Z, Molina SA, Joo M, Tyor WR, Goldberg JB, Koval M, Hart CM, Sadikot RT. PPARγ Agonists Attenuate Biofilm Formation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. FASEB J. 2017 Apr 25. pii: fj.201700075R. doi: 10.1096/fj.201700075R. PMID: 28442545

Molina SA, Moriarty HK, Infield DT, Imhoff BR, Vance RJ, Kim AH, Hansen JM, Hunt WR, Koval M, McCarty NA. Insulin signaling via Akt2 regulates the airway glucose barrier in a CFTR-dependent manner. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2017 May 1;312(5):L688-L702. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00364.2016. PMID: 28213469.

Molina SA, Stauffer B, Moriarty HK, Kim AH, McCarty NA, Koval M. Junctional abnormalities in human airway epithelial cells expressing F508del CFTR. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015 Sep 1;309(5):L475-87. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00060.2015. PMID: 26115671.