Stephanie Gilley photo

Stephanie Gilley MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Nutrition, University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Pediatric Nutrition (SOM)


Stephanie Gilley, MD, PhD, received her undergraduate from Middlebury College and her MD and PhD from Tufts University School of Medicine. She currently sees patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado Nutrition Clinic.  


Research + Funding 

From 2021 to 2022, Dr. Gilley completed her Ludeman Center-funded research project titled, “Sex Differences in Intrauterine Growth Restricted Mice Exposed to a High Fat Diet.”  

About 20% of babies born in low- and middle-income countries and 5-10% of babies born in the U.S. do not grow enough before they are born. Fetal growth that is too slow, called intrauterine growth restriction or IUGR, increases risk for medical problems throughout a person’s life. Babies who had IUGR are at higher risk of developing obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes as adults. Some of these babies will make up for this slow fetal growth by gaining weight quickly as a newborn. Unfortunately, rapid weight gain worsens risk for later obesity and other problems, but we don’t fully understand why. Research has shown that the bacteria living in our intestines influence weight gain and blood sugars. We predicted that the gut bacteria may be playing a role in IUGR as well. Using a mouse model of IUGR , I tested whether mice given food that is high in calories, fat and sugar would have worse outcomes compared to those fed a regular food. Male IUGR mice fed the high calorie diet gained weight faster and had more difficulty managing their blood sugar as young adults compared to male mice that had normal growth as a fetus. Early in life, male IUGR mice had near-total absence of a special bacteria called Akkermansia which is known to help manage blood sugar and weight gain in mice. In adulthood, both male and female IUGR mice had absence of Akkermansia. Missing Akkermansia early in life may help explain these sex differences. Giving different gut bacteria to IUGR babies may offer a way to help them be healthier throughout their lives. 

Dr. Gilley recognizes the support from the Ludeman Center who provided opportunities for training and networking with immense support from other researchers, especially women.  


Transforming Women’s Health

Her current interest in understanding the earliest contributors to obesity and cardiovascular disease has been the driver behind her research on how intrauterine exposures interact with postnatal nutrition and growth. To support women’s health across the lifespan, it is critical to improve maternal health before conception and during pregnancy, including promoting breastfeeding and supporting appropriate nutrition and growth during infancy and childhood.


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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