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Administration Basic Sciences Clinical Sciences Centers of Excellence



Patricia Molina, MD, PhD

Richard Ashman, PhD Professor and Head Department of Physiology
Director Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence

Past President - American Physiological Society

1901 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 568-6187


MD - 1986
Universidad Francisco Marroquin

PhD - 1990
Louisiana State University Medical Center


Dr. Molina completed her MD training at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala, Central America. Thereafter, she pursued a PhD in Physiology at LSUHSC under the mentorship of Dr. John J. Spitzer, presenting her dissertation on “Ethanol-endotoxin interaction with carbohydrate metabolism”. Her postdoctoral experience at Vanderbilt University was supported by a NIGMS Minority Supplement Grant under the mentorship of Dr. Naji N. Abumrad. She progressed through the academic ranks initially as an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Physiology at the State University of New York, Stony Brook and subsequently as Director of Surgical Research at North Shore University Hospital. During that period, she held a Guest Scientist appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory prior to joining the Department of Physiology at LSUHSC as an Associate Professor. Since becoming a faculty member at LSUHSC, Dr. Molina has obtained tenure and promotion to the rank of Professor, and has been named the Richard Ashman, PhD Professor in Physiology. On September 2008, she was appointed Department Head for Physiology. Dr. Molina’s research has been funded continuously since completing her PhD degree. She has mentored several undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral trainees. Dr. Molina is a member of the faculty of the School of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Education Committee in Physiology, The Graduate Advisory Council, and is a mentor for the LSUHSC Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. Dr. Molina is an active member of several committees within the LSUHSC and is also actively involved in the Scientific Community outside the institution. Currently, she is the Chair for the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse and Past President of the American Physiological Society.

Research Interests

Research in her laboratory focuses on the impact of alcohol and drug abuse on the cardiovascular, metabolic and immune consequences of acute traumatic injury and hemorrhagic shock. In addition, work in her laboratory also investigates the interaction of chronic alcohol and cannabinoid use on the behavioral, metabolic, and immune consequences of HIV/AIDS. Currently, work in her laboratory is funded by NIAAA, NIDA, and CDMRP.

Impact of chronic alcohol and cannabinoids on the progression of HIV

Impact of alcohol abuse on the metabolic and pro-inflammatory counteregulatory responses to shock and trauma

Contribution of endocannabinoids to recovery from traumatic brain injury

Understanding the neuro-endocrine mechanisms that regulate peripheral metabolic and inflammatory responses to hemorrhagic shock and trauma

Teaching Activities

Dr. Molina teaches the Endocrine Block in Medical Physiology
      (Spring semester)
and in the Biological Systems Graduate Course
      (Spring semester).

She is course director for Medical Spanish Elective
       (Spring semester),
Perspectives in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research 
      (Spring and Fall semesters),
and Graduate Endocrine Physiology
       (alternating Fall semesters)


Selected Publications
  1. LeCapitaine NJ, Zhang P, Winsauer P, Walker E, Vande Stouwe C, Porretta C, Molina PE. Chronic Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Administration Increases Lymphocyte CXCR4 Expression in Rhesus Macaques. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2011 6(4):540-45. PMID: 21484257
  2.  Whitaker AM, Sulzer JK, Molina PE. Augmented Nitric Oxide Production in the Paraventricular Nucleus Inhibits Vasopressin Release During Hemorrhage in Acute Alcohol Intoxicated Rodents. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 301(5):R1529-39. PMID: 21849630
  3.  LeCapitaine N J, Wang ZQ, Dufour JP, Potter BJ, Bagby GJ, Nelson S, Cefalu WT, Molina PE. Disrupted Anabolic and Catabolic Processes May Contribute to Alcohol-Accentuated SAIDS-Associated Wasting. J Infectious Diseases. 2011 204:1246-55. PMID:21917898
  4. Molina PE, Amedee A, LeCapitaine NJ, Zabaleta J, Mohan M, Winsauer P, Vande Stouwe C. Cannabinoid Neuroimmune Modulation of SIV Disease. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2011 Dec; 6 (4):516-27. PMID: 21830069
  5. Kharbanda KK, Bardag-Gorce F, Barve S, Molina PE, Osna NA. Impact of Altered Methylation in Cytokine Signaling and Proteasome Function in Alcohol and Viral-Mediated Diseases. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2012 May 11. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01840.x. PMID: 22577887
  6. Whitaker AM, Sulzer JK, Molina PE. Augmented Central Nitric Oxide Production Inhibits Vasopressin Release During Hemorrhage in Acute Alcohol-Intoxicated Rodents. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Nov;301 (5):R1529-39. Epub 2011 Aug 17. PMID: 21849630
  7. Sulzer JK, Whitaker AM, Molina PE. Hypertonic Saline Resuscitation Enhances Blood Pressure Recovery and Decreases Organ Injury Following Hemorrhage in Acute Alcohol Intoxicated Rodents. J. Trauma. PMID: TBA
  8. Molina PE, Amedee AM, LeCapitaine NJ, Zabaleta J, Mohan M, Winsauer PJ, Vande Stouwe C, McGoey, RR, Auten MW, LaMotte, L, Chandra, LC Birke, LL. Modulation of Gut-Specific Mechanisms by Chronic Δ9-THC Administration in Male Rhesus Macaques Infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus: A Systems Biology Analysis. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2014 Feb 7. [Epub ahead of print] PMCID: PMC Journal –in Process
  9. Lehnert M, Kovacs EJ, Molina PE, Relja B. Modulation of inflammation by alcohol exposure. Mediators Inflamm. 2014;2014:283756. doi: 10.1155/2014/283756. Epub 2014 Feb 5.
  10. Molina PE, Gardner JD, Souza-Smith F, Whitaker AM.  Alcohol Abuse; Pathophysiological Processes & Contribution to Disease Burden.   Physiology (Bethesda). 2014 May;29(3):203-215.
  11. Molina PE, Bagby GJ, Nelson S.  Biomedical Consequences of Alcohol Use Disorders in the HIV-Infected Host. Invited Review. Current HIV Reviews. Accepted April 2014.
  12. Simon L, LeCapitaine N, Berner P, Vande Stouwe C, Mussell J. C, Allerton T, Primeaux S, Dufour J, , Nelson S, Bagby GJ, Cefalu W, Molina PE. Chronic binge alcohol consumption alters myogenic gene expression and reduces differentiation potential of primary skeletal muscle satellite cells. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Mar 26. PMCID: PMC Journal in Process
  13. Siggins R, Molina PE, Zhang P, Bagby GJ, Nelson S, Dufour J, LeCapitaine N, Walsh C, Welsh D. Dysregulation of Myelopoiesis by Chronic Alcohol Administration during Early SIV Infection of Rhesus Macaques. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.  2014. Accepted for publication  NIHMS582318
Additional Info

Curriculum Vitae