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Cynthia F. Bearer
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Cynthia F. Bearer M.D., Ph.D., FAAP

Academic Title: Professor
Primary Appointment: Pediatrics
Administrative Title: Associate Chair, Pediatrics , Division Head, Pediatric Neonatology
Additional Title(s): Mary Gray Cobey Professor of Neonatology
Location: 110 S. Paca Street, 8th floor
Phone: (410) 328-6003
Fax: (410) 328-1076

Personal History:

Cynthia F. Bearer, MD, PhD is the Mary Gray Cobey Professor of Neonatology with tenure, Chief of Neonatology and Associate Chair for Research, Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Pediatric Research.

Dr. Bearer completed a BA with honors in mathematics from Smith College; a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University; and an M.D. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She became an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University in 1994 where she was promoted to Professor of Pediatrics with tenure. In 2008 she moved to University of Maryland School of Medicine to become the Mary Gray Cobey Professor of Neonatology. In 2009 she became Chief, Division of Neonatology and in 2012 Associate Chair for Research.

She has published extensively on fetal and pediatric environmental health. Her research has received funding from NIH, CDC and U.S. EPA. She has established fatty acid ethyl esters as a biomarker for both in utero exposure to ethanol, and impact on neurocognitive outcomes. She holds a patent on this technology. Her laboratory is studying the impact of common solvents including ethanol on the development of the cerebellum using both cellular and animal models. She is a frequently invited speaker nationally and internationally.

She has published extensively in the scientific literature: 8 book chapters, and 70 peer reviewed articles.  Dr. Bearer is Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Pediatric Research. She is a member of the American Pediatrics Society and the Society for Pediatric Research. She has served on the Committee to Evaluate Childrenâ?Ts Health of the National Academy of Science. She is past President of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Study Group. She has served on the Scientific Advisory Board for the U.S. EPA. She is a Smith College Gold Medalist.

Research Interests:

  • Developmental Neurotoxicity
  • Cell signaling
  • Membrane biology
  • Lipid rafts
  • Environmental toxicants

Lab Techniques and Equipment:

  • Immunoblots
  • Immunoprecipitations
  • Cell culture
  • Transfections
  • Animal models

Clinical Specialty:

  • Neonatology
  • Pediatric Environmental Health

Grants and Contracts:

Title: Effects of Perinatal Hypoxia-Ischemia on the Developing Cerebellum With and Without Prior Inflammation
Position: Multiple Principle Investigator, 15% effort
Source: NIH/NICHD 1P01HD085928-01A1
Duration: 5 years, 07/01/16 - 6/30/21 (7th%ile)
Total Direct Costs: $7,718,381

Title: The Role of Lipid Rafts in Bilirubin Neurotoxicity
Position: Principle Investigator, 10% effort
Source: NIH/NICHD 1R21HD085061-01A1
Duration: 2 years, 04/01/16 - 03/31/18 (6th%ile)
Total Direct Costs: $275,000

Title: Environmental Factors in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Position: Co-investigator, 5% effort Mooney (PI)
Source: NIH/NIAAA R01 AA022413
Duration: 5 years, 05/05/14 - 4/30/19
Total Direct Costs: $1,250,000

Title: Interactive Effect of Environmental Exposures and Alcohol in the Navaho Birth Cohort
Position: Co-investigator, 2% effort Bhakreiva (PI)
Source: NIH/NIAAA 1 R15 AA022242-01
Duration: 3 years, 9/1/13 - 8/31/16
Total Direct Costs: $302,056

Title: Center for Infant and Child Loss
Position: Principal Investigator, 0% effort
Source: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Duration: 3 years, 7/1/13 - 6/30/16
Total Direct Costs: $411,000

Title: Mercury in Donor Blood: A Possible Hazard for Preterm Infants
Position: Principle Investigator, 0% effort
Source: Gerber Foundation
Duration: 2 years, 7/1/10-6/30/14
Total Direct Costs: $100,000


Selected Publications from 72 peer-reviewed:

White KMR, Sabatino JA, He M, Davis N, Tang N, Bearer CF. Toluene disruption of the functions of L1 cell adhesion molecule at concentrations associated with occupational exposures.  Pediatr Res 2016 in press.

Bearer CF, Molloy EJ. Expanding Research, Relevance and Reach.  Pediatr Res   2015;Nov2. Doi:10.1038/pr.2015.228.  [Epub ahead of print].

Sundarajan S, Blatz A, Dearborn D, Varnes A, Bearer C, El-Metwally D. Toxic metal contamination of banked blood designated for neonatal transfusion. J Clin Toxicol 20155:267. Doi:10.4172/2161-0495.1000267.

Falck AJ, Mooney S, Kapoor SS, White KM, Bearer C, El Metwally D. Developmental     Exposure to Environmental Toxicants. Pediatr Clin North Am 2015 Oct;62(5):1173-97.

Carrasco M, Rao SC, Bearer CF, Sundararajan S. Neonatal gabapentin withdrawal syndrome. Pediatr Neurol. 2015 Nov;53(5):445-7.

Bearer CF, Wellmann KA, Tang N, He M, Mooney SM.  Choline ameliorates deficits in balance caused by acute developmental ethanol exposure.  Cerebellum 2015 Aug;14(4):413-20. doi: 10.1007/s12311-015-0691-7

Bearer CF.  A short history of FAEE (invited commentary).  Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2015, Mar;39(3):413-5.

Min MO, Singer LT, Minnes S, Wu M, Bearer CF. Association of fatty acid ethyl esters in meconium and cognitive development during childhood and adolescence. J Pediatr. 2015 Apr;166(4):1042-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.12.008. Epub 2015 Jan 13. PMID:25596105

Gifford A, Bearer CF.  Universal screening programs for gestational exposures (invited editorial), J Pediatr. 2015 Mar;166(3):522-4.

Tang N, Bamford P, Jones J, He M, Kane MA, Mooney SM, Bearer CF.  Choline partially prevents the impact of ethanol on the lipid raft dependent functions of L1 cell adhesion molecule.  Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2014 Nov;38(11):2722-30. PMID: 25421509

Milstone AM, Bamford P, Aucott S, Tang N, White KR,  Bearer CF.  Chlorhexidine inhibits L1 cell adhesion molecule mediated neurite outgrowth in vitro.  Pediatr Res 2014 Jan;75(1-1):8-13. PMID: 24126818

Littner Y, Tang N, He M, Bearer CF.  L1 cell adhesion molecule signaling is inhibited by ethanol in vivo.  Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2013 Mar;37(3):383-9. PMID: 23050935

Tang N, Farah B, He M, Fox S, Malouf A, Littner Y, Bearer CF.  Ethanol causes the redistribution of L1 cell adhesion molecule in lipid rafts.  J Neurochem 2011 Nov;119(4):859-67. PMID: 21884525

Gifford AE, Farkas KJ, Jackson LW, Molteno CD, Jacobson JL, Jacobson SW, Bearer CF. Assessment of benefits of a universal screen for maternal alcohol use during pregnancy.  Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2010, Oct;88(10):838-46.

Braun JM, Daniels JL, Poole C, Olshan AF, Hornung R, Bernert JT, Xia Y, Bearer C, Barr DB, Lanphear BP.  A prospective cohort study of biomarkers of prenatal tobacco smoke exposure:  the correlation between serum and meconium and their association with infant birth weight. Environ Health. 2010 Aug 27;9(1):53.

Bearer C, Bailey S, Hoek J.  Advancing alcohol biomarkers research.  Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2010, Jun;34(6):941-5.  Epub 2010 Apr 5.

Yeaney N, He M, Tang N, Malouf A, O'Riordan M, Lemmon V, Bearer CF. Ethanol inhibits L1 cell adhesion molecule tyrosine phosphorylation and dephosphorylation and activation of pp60src.  J Neurochem 2009 Aug;110(3):779-90. Epub 2009 May 3.

Peterson J, Kirchner HL, Xue W, Minnes S, Singer LT, Bearer CF. Fatty acid ethyl esters in meconium are associated with poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes to two years of age. J Pediatr. 2008 Jun;152(6):788-92. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Lai TT, Bearer CF. Iatrogenic environmental hazards in the neonatal intensive care unit. Clin Perinatol. 2008 Mar;35(1):163-81.

Littner Y, Cudd TA, O'Riordan MA, Cwik A, Bearer CF.  Elevated Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters in Meconium of Sheep Fetuses Exposed In Utero to Ethanol-A New Animal Model.  Pediatr Res. 2008 Feb;63(2):164-8. Epub 2007 Dec 10.