Bearer received the MD-PhD from UCSF in 1983, is licensed in New Mexico and California, and has specialty board certification in Anatomic Pathology. She came to UNM-HSC after 18 years at Brown University where she held a tenured professorship. Bearer's research focuses on intracellular dynamics, including axonal transport. Recent publications and NIH funding focus on mapping the brain with transport by magnetic resonance imaging and companion histopathology in neurodegenerative diseases and post-traumatic stress disorder. As Vice Chair for Research, her responsibilities include leadership for the research activities and tenured faculty in the Department of Pathology. For education, she received multiple Dean's Teaching Excellence awards while at Brown University, and served a secretary for the UMEDS (2011-2012), a subsection of the national Association of Pathology Chairs tasked with policy and planning for medical school pathology education.