Maigen Bethea

Research Instructor
  • Pediatric Nutrition (SOM)


Maigen Michelle Bethea, PhD, received her BS in biology at Francis Marion University and her PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.   

Research + Funding 

From 2022 to 2023, Dr. Bethea pursued two research projects funded by the Ludeman Center. The first project, titled “The Role of Oxytocin Receptor Vagal Afferents in Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy” investigates the role of oxytocin receptor vagal afferents in vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG)-induced changes in feeding behavior and glucose homeostasis. Much of the preclinical data illuminating the mechanisms of the surgery’s success has been conducted in male rodents, although more than 80% of VSG patients are women. Dr. Bethea’s project will generate data that will uncover signaling pathways inhibited by obesity and stimulated by bariatric surgery. This will ultimately help in identifying novel and less invasive therapeutic strategies for the treatment of obesity and thoroughly examine the sex differences in rodent animals after VSG. 

Her second project is titled, “The Role of Gastrointestinal GLP-1R Neurons in Mediating the Glucose-Lowering and Weight Loss Effects of Oral Exendin-4.” Despite their growing clinical utilization, the understanding of the sexual dimorphic properties of oral GLP-1 analogs remains incomplete. Dr. Bethea’s research will determine which GLP-1 receptor pools are responsible for sexual dimorphisms exhibited with oral GLP-1 analogs and whether these receptor populations are for the glucose-lowering and weight loss effects of oral GLP-1R agonists.  

Dr. Bethea values the community that she found within the Ludeman Center and recognizes their eager efforts to genuinely support faculty and researchers.  

Transforming Women’s Health 

Her current priority is assessing how the gut-brain-pancreas axis regulates glucose homeostasis and energy balance. “As a woman and scientific researcher, I am aware of the critical role we play in challenging gender bias and stereotypes by dismantling myths and misconceptions through rigorous empirical evidence,” she shares. With unwavering passion, my aim is to contribute significantly to the validation of women's health as a vital area of research and drive positive societal change that paves the way for genuine gender equality.” 


Ludeman Family Center for Women's Health Research

CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center

12348 East Montview Boulevard

Mail Stop C-263

Aurora, CO 80045


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