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Anthony Molina, PhD

Anthony Molina, PhD, develops minimally invasive approaches for measuring an individual’s systemic bioenergetic capacity. These assays have widespread clinical applications as prognostic and diagnostic tools for various age-related diseases, and he seeks industry partners for assay development, optimization and clinical testing.


Anthony Molina, PhD

About Anthony Molina

Anthony Molina earned his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he studied neuronal physiology. He completed a research fellowship in ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and a second research fellowship in endocrinology at Boston University Medical Center, where he explored the role of mitochondrial dynamics in the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity. He joined Wake Forest School of Medicine’s section on gerontology and geriatrics in 2011 to establish a new program in translational bioenergetics research that focused on older adults and healthy aging.

Molina’s work focuses on promoting healthy aging across two primary domains: cognitive function and physical ability. Through published research, his team was the first to demonstrate that multiple features of aging—including physical and cognitive decline—are strongly associated with the bioenergetic profiles of circulating cells.

His laboratory has played a key role in developing minimally invasive approaches for measuring systemic bioenergetic capacity. These blood-based measures of mitochondrial function use comprehensive respirometric analyses of multiple circulating cell types to generate bioenergetic profiles that identify early, presymptomatic, pathological changes associated with various age-related diseases and predict disease progression and the success of intervention. His team implements these approaches in multiple ongoing clinical research projects supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

Molina believes that the ability to diagnose mitochondrial health will address central challenges in geriatric medicine, such as the need for personalized health care based on an individual’s unique physiology and “biological age.” Working with various patient populations, as well as nonhuman primates, his team performs comprehensive analyses of mitochondrial function in various tissues and circulating cells in order to establish the role of bioenergetic capacity in cognitive function and physical ability. In particular, his ongoing studies are focused on Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure, and the effects of diet and exercise based interventions.

Through partnerships with industry, Molina engages in collaborative innovation, a driving force that he considers key for advancing cutting-edge biomedical research. His collaborations focus on the development of new technologies, with the ultimate goal of improving the health, independence and quality of life in older adults.


Anthony Molina, PhD, assistant professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine, is the founding director of Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Mitochondrial Bioenergetics Core Laboratory and specializes in:

  • Mitochondrial bioenergetics
  • Blood-based bioenergetic profiling
  • Metabolism
  • Gerontology and aging
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Physical function