John Bethea John Bethea
Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Office Phone: 202-994-2878
Email: Email
Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology


  • Bachelor of Science, Florida International University, 1985
  • PHD, University of Alabama School of Medicine, 1991


John Bethea, PhD, was most recently a professor in the Department of Biology at Drexel University, where he served as the Department Head from 2014 to 2019. Before joining the faculty at Drexel, Bethea held multiple positions within The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Bethea maintains an active, well-funded research program focused on the mechanisms and therapies for chronic neuropathic pain, mechanisms of spinal cord injury-induced immune dysfunction, and TNFR2 (tumor necrosis factor receptor-2) dependent sex differences in functional recovery and mechanisms of remyelination and neuroprotection with funding from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense. He also serves on numerous NIH and DoD review panels and has chaired the New Jersey Commission of Brain Injury since 2012.

Bethea earned his PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Case Western University and a Multiple Sclerosis Society postdoctoral fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He has published nearly 100 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and research monographs on neuropathic pain in Multiple Sclerosis, cytokines in brain trauma, and spinal cord injury. He has served on the editorial boards for Neural Regeneration Research, the Journal of Neurochemistry, and the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. Bethea currently serves on the editorial boards for Experimental Neurology, he is the chief editor of Trends in Neuroinflammation, and he is a reviewer for many other journals.

He is a seasoned educator who has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in neuroscience, immunology, and cell and molecular biology, throughout his career. Bethea is a talented mentor, actively guiding the development of more than a dozen PhD students as well as postdoctoral fellows and research assistant professors in his lab.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None