Samantha Yeligar, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Department of Medicine


Dr. Yeligar completed her BS (2004) in Biochemistry with a Biology emphasis at the University of California-Riverside.  She completed her MS (2006) and PhD (2009) training in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Southern California.  Dr. Yeligar’s MS thesis focused on identifying the biochemical pathways affected by the anticancer agents motexafin gadolinium and sapphyrin in Ramos B-cell lymphoma and leukemic cells through gene expression profiling.  Her PhD dissertation focused on the ethanol-HIF-1α axis in inflammatory gene expression in liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells during chronic alcohol ingestion.  Dr. Yeligar joined Emory University’s Alcohol and Lung Biology Center as a postdoctoral fellow in 2009 where she investigated the role of NADPH oxidases and TGFβ in ethanol-induced oxidative stress and alveolar macrophage dysfunction, leading to alcoholics’ increased susceptibility to respiratory infections.  In 2011, Dr. Yeligar received an F32 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to study the effect of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR)g ligands on alcohol-induced alveolar macrophage dysfunction. 

In January of 2013, Dr. Yeligar joined the faculty as an Associate in the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep.  Her F32 served as a natural extension to an American Heart Association National Scientist Development Grant in 2012 to study the effect of PPARg ligands on alcohol-induced alveolar macrophage oxidative stress by modulating microRNA expression.  In September of 2013, Dr. Yeligar obtained a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the NIAAA to continue her studies on the role of microRNAs in modulating alcohol-induced alveolar macrophage oxidative stress and dysfunction. The novel treatment strategies to mitigate the detrimental effects of chronic alcohol ingestion on alveolar macrophage function that have been studied by Dr. Yeligar have included S-adenosylmethionine, the critical antioxidant glutathione, and PPARg ligands rosiglitazone and pioglitazone.

In 2015, Dr. Yeligar was promoted to Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine.  Dr. Yeligar serves on the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Executive Career Development Committee and has ongoing collaborations with Dr. Ashish Mehta and Dr. Sushma Cribbs to translate her studies into human therapeutic strategies in improving lung immunity in subjects with a history of alcohol use disorders (Dr. Mehta) and subjects with HIV positive status (Dr. Cribbs).

Dr. Yeligar’s research focus is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms contributing to alveolar macrophage oxidative stress and phagocytic dysfunction in various pathologies and to examine novel therapeutic strategies that can be translated into clinical studies to improve lung immunity.


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