Elaine Bearer, MD, PhD

Faculty Titles
Department of Pathology

Harvey Family Professor in Pathology

Research Program
Translational Cancer Biology and Signaling

NIH Biosketch
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Personal Statement

As Principal Investigator t, I drive all aspects of the research, from hypothesis generation, to experimental design, interpretation, analysis, and publication. Throughout my career I have led interdisciplinary efforts -- imagining, developing, and performing collaborative studies -- which provided me with leadership experiences to for direction of this integrated, biological-psychological project towards success. My expertise in molecular biology and all approaches to imaging (optical, electron-microscopy and MR, together with computational image analysis) began as an MD-PhD student in the NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program at University of California, San Francisco. My subsequent fellowship training included Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with Bruce M. Alberts, and Medical Genetics with Charlie Epstein, and resulted in my cloning and sequencing important human and animal genes, and in determining their activity by novel imaging assays. I have also generated conceptual frameworks for linking observed phenomena to biological mechanisms using molecular imaging, spatiotemporal correlations, and computational modeling. Together with physical chemist, Russell E. Jacobs, I pioneered the application of Mn2+ as paramagnetic Ca2+ reporter for MR imaging of brain circuits and activity in small animal experimental systems. We determined non-toxic doses using a multiscalar approach, including behavior, physiology, electrophysiology, histopathology, electron microscopy and MR imaging (Bearer et al 2007a). We established the biological basis of Mn2+ transport within brain circuits, including the visual system (Bearer et al. 2007a), the hippocampal projections to the medial forebrain (Bearer et al 2007b; Gallagher et al. 2012; Medina et al. 2017a; Bearer et al 2018 in press), and the medial pre-frontal cortex into the limbic system (Bearer et al. 2009; Zhang and Bearer et al, 2010; Gallagher et al 2013). Because of its innovative pioneering nature, our work required the development of new MR techniques and computational processing programs to manage large amounts of high throughput MRI data (Delora et al, 2015, Medina et al 2017b). My lab has also contributed to the genetics/genomics databases by identifying, cloning, sequencing and functional analysis of over a dozen brain proteins conserved across species from squid to human. Most recently we reported pediatric trauma results in alterations of DNA methylation at sites in genes expressed in neurons (Bearer and Mulligan, 2018). My research is known for innovation and cross-disciplinary integration, as demonstrated by my election as fellow in 2011 to AAAS for innovation in neuroscience and expertise in inter-disciplinary training.

My ability to lead scientific projects is supported by continuous funding from NIH as Principle Investigator for R01 grants now lasting over 24 years. I am a diplomat of Harvard's Leadership Development for Physicians in Academic Health Centers in 2009. I was invited as co-PI on two NIH Center grants, and serve on review groups for P50 grants, most recently by NICHD for the Capstone Childhood Maltreatment Centers, 2/19/2018. Two of my NIH-funded R01 awards were successful multi-institutional projects. Brown University recruited me from UCSF in 1991 as tenure-track professor, where I rose to full Professor. In 2009 UNM tapped me for Vice Chair for Research with tenure and an endowed professorship. I led the 90-member Pathology Department first as Vice Chair for Research and then as Acting Chair from 2012-2014. While I was VC, the UNM Pathology Department rose in national ranking from 29th to 7th. As an educator, I have sponsored over 70 trainees in my laboratory and frequently receive teaching awards. NIH calls on me often for review group and study section participation. My publication record shows over 120 publications, with two more currently accepted or in press.