Dr. Elaine L. Bearer, Medical Doctor, Ph.D., Professor, Researcher, Composer & Musician: Madeline’s Monthly Musical Tips Blog for January 2023


Our blog and Radio Show celebrate the life and work of Dr. Elaine L. Bearer, Medical Doctor, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology, Researcher, Composer & Musician. Many of the world’s medical doctors, neuroscientists, researchers, composers, teachers, chemists, scientists, mathematicians, writers and others have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Also included is an article on the power of classical music for healing.

Our article of the month is “Road Trip” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.

Radio Show Feature Question for January 2023:  How does Classical music play a part of Dr. Elaine L. Bearer’s life as a Medical Doctor, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology, researcher, composer and musician and what musical instruments does she play?


Early Years:

Elaine L. Bearer was born in Morristown, New Jersey on April 1, 1949. Her childhood was filled with music. At the age of 6, she began composing music and learning to play the violin and piano, and later the viola and French horn. She played in community orchestras. When she was 9 years old, her first musical composition was performed. She studied at the Juilliard pre-college in New York City.

She then studied at Carnegie Institute of Technology for two years studying music and computer science. Her music composition teachers were Carolos Surinach, Virgil Thompson, Don Wilkins, and Nicolai Lopatniff. She also as a freelancer performed with the Pittsburg Symphony on French horn. (From Steven Ledbetter notes in an essay, “Music, Medicine, and Elaine Bearer”.)

She then went to study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, famed composition teacher. While there she performed as a freelancer on the French horn with the Orchestra de Paris, under Charles Munch. (From Steven Ledbetter notes in an essay, “Music, Medicine, and Elaine Bearer”.)



Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music & Teaching:

She returned to New York City “with an interest in computer “algorhythms” to generate sound”. In June 1970 she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Theory at the Manhattan School of Music. Her teachers were Mario Davidovsky and Ludmilla Ulehla.

She taught music history and appreciation at Fairleigh Dickinson University from 1970 to 1973 while she earned her M.A. in Musicology at NYU. During this time as a freelancer, she played the French horn in the American Symphony Orchestra under Stokowski. (From Steven Ledbetter notes in an essay, “Music, Medicine, and Elaine Bearer”.)

She was then “recruited to San Francisco by Lone Mountain College as an Assistant Professor of Music” to teach composition. She also taught at the San Francisco Conservatory.

Medical School Prerequisites: Pre-Med Stanford University:

Elaine Bearer in the early 1980s “decided to attend medical school. While preparing at Stanford University, she was a postgraduate research assistant in neuroscience with John Nicholls and a teaching assistant for Donald Kennedy.”

(Dr. Leopold May, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064. “The Lesser Known Chemist Composers, Past and Present.”



Elaine Bearer said, “My vision was to understand how music affects the brain, and to do that, I needed to understand the brain both molecularly and physically.” While preparing at Stanford University, she was a postgraduate research assistant in neuroscience,

 “She discovered a deep love for science, which she describes as enrapturing.”

Dr. Elaine Bearer says, “When you start making discoveries, it’s a thrill like no other. Once you have a taste of that, you discover how passionate you are about it.”

While studying “neurophysiology in Dr. John G. Nicholl’s lab at Stanford University. Bearer’s early scientific contributions as a graduate student include the first ultrastructural imaging of lipid rafts in cell membranes that mediate neuronalsignaling (Bearer and Friend, J. Cell Biol., 1982).”



Dr. Elaine Bearer, M.D., Ph.D.:

In 1983, “She was the first graduate from the M.D.-Ph.D. program at University of California, San Francisco. Ph.D. in Cell Biology.

(Dr. Leopold May, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064. “The Lesser Known Chemist Composers, Past and Present.”

Dr. Bearer then as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Cell Biology in Dr. Lelio Orci’s Laboratory at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, “developed quick-freeze deep-etch electron-microscopy to define the structure of endothelial fenestral diaphragms, the gateway between tissue and blood.



She returns to UCSF, San Francisco for a post-doctoral fellowship in biochemistry with Dr. Bruce M. Alberts.” In her research in Dr. Alberts lab, she researched “actin filament modulators that regulate membrane dynamics and identified 110 proteins driving filament formation from human blood platelets.”

She then did her “residency in the department of Pathology while at the same time, she was Composer in Residence to the university’s symphony Orchestra.” (From Steven Ledbetter notes in an essay, “Music, Medicine, and Elaine Bearer”.)

Brown University: Teaching Biology, Medicine and Music: (1991-2009)

In 1991, Dr. Bearer, “joined the Department of Pathology and Medicine at Brown University as Assistant Professor. One year later she was appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Music. After six years, she was promoted to Associate Professor in both departments and Professor in 2004 in the Department of Pathology and Medicine and in 2005 in the Department of Music and in 2006 in the Division of Engineering.”

“Bearer taught for 18 years in the medical school and graduate programs at Brown University. In the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, she was course director for semester-long courses in Systemic Pathology for which she was awarded a number of Dean’s awards for Excellence in Medical Teaching, as well as lecturer for other medical school courses.”

 (Dr. Leopold May, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064. “The Lesser Known Chemist Composers, Past and Present.”

 In her lab at Brown University , as a Principal Investigator, she “discovered Arp2 and 2E4/kaptin, proteins that regulate actin dynamics in neurons (Bearer, 1992)  and platelets.”

“These proteins were initially identified while Dr. Bearer was a post-doc at UCSF, turned out to be major regulatory components of the length of stereocilia in the hearing apparatus of the inner ear.”



Teaching and hosting students in her lab:

Dr. Bearer “hosted over 70 undergraduates, graduates, and post-doctoral trainees in her lab.” Some of her former students “have their own faculty appointments elsewhere.”

Outreach Clinic: San Lucas Health Project in Guatemala:

Beginning in 1993, Dr. Bearer “served as Director and Codirector of The San Lucas Health Project, which provides the indigenous Maya of the San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala region with free year-round primary health care. She volunteered from 1993 until 2005, traveling there once or twice a year until local residents achieved the training and education to run it on their own.”

Professor in Pathology at University of New Mexico: 

In 2009, Dr. Bearer became “ the Harvey Family Professor in Pathology at University of New Mexico, a visitor at California Institute of Technology, and an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is also a fellow of the College of American Pathologists.”

 “Bearer holds secondary appointments in Neurosurgery and in the UNM Music Department. She teaches medical students and graduate courses and serves on steering and curriculum committees. She teaches musical composition in the Music Department at UNM.”

Teaching Awards:

“Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Medical Student Training. Brown Medical School, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008.”

“Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, 2017.”


“In 2019 The Manhattan School awarded Bearer the Distinguished Alumni Award.”



“In 2020, Dr. Bearer “received a Campaign Alumni Award for “most audacious” from University of California, San Francisco.”

“In 2021 she has been bestowed with an honorary professorship from The Strømstadt Akademi, in Sweden,  a Nordic Academy for Advance Studies. Her newly composed string quartet premiered at the award ceremony.”




Dr. Bearer “discovered genes found to be essential for brain development and memory. Her scientific work continues to generate headlines: “UNM Neuropathologist Develops Biomarker Test for Identifying Childhood Abuse” and “UNM Researchers Link Herpes to Alzheimer’s Disease.”

“Her goal remains to find the neural connection between music and our brains.”

Dr. Bearer, “Nobody really believed I was going to get to this end result in any kind of a reasonable time taking this approach. Maybe they were right. I’ve discovered a lot of things, but I haven’t quite made it to my goal. If I want to understand how music affects the brain, I need to understand how music interacts with our feelings, with our emotions. I’m hoping that I can get to that step.”

Dr. Bearer says, “she owes much to her postdoc adviser, Bruce Alberts, PhD, UCSF professor emeritus of biochemistry and biophysics, who nominated her as one of the Audacious for her successful pursuit of music’s effect on the mind. “He never believed that I could do what I was going to do, and then I did it,” she says, laughing.



Dr. Bearer’s Musical Compositions:

Her “musical composition, The Nicholls Trio: A Musical Biography of a Scientist, is dedicated to her mentor, John Nicholls (45, 46). The final movement was inspired by electrical patterns in the neurons of leeches, which Nicholls studied.” Her musical compositions “have been performed around the world, including in Paris, Geneva, New York, and San Francisco.”

 Dr. Bearer notes: “Virtually every piece that I’ve composed has been performed publicly by professional musicians at least once.”  

Music: “Bearer is a composer, who has had performances annually of her new compositions.”

Music of   E. L. Elaine Bearer:



Snow I Chinese Poetry, Music composed by Elaine Bearer: “I enjoyed listening to Snow 1, the hauntingly beautiful music of Elaine Bearer.” Madeline Frank

Dr. Elaine Bearer is a Medical Doctor, Ph.D., researcher, Professor of Pathology, musical composer, and lifelong musician. She has taught for over 25 years teaching medical doctors, scientists, researchers, and music composers. Her research and teaching has saved thousands of lives. As a brilliant thinker she has inspired, motivated, and encouraged her students to learn and do their best to help others. © 2023 Madeline Frank


Have you ever taken your family on a road trip?

When our two children were ages 9 and 5, we packed up our purple Grand Voyager, and headed out on a 3 ½ hour trip to visit President Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, VA.

If you are older than 35, you recall a time when the term “road trip” meant more than simply typing an address into your phone and following turn-by-turn directions.

It likely conjured up memories of deciphering large maps, using a highlighter to mark points of interest…and then struggling with the nearly impossible feat of folding the map back into its original shape.

After what seemed like 6 hours of countless “are we there yet?” questions from the back seat, we rounded the corner of Thomas Jefferson’s manicured estate…Monticello.

Our tour guide was an expert on all things related to President Jefferson. He knew all about his life, his work, and his passions. He showed us many fascinating features of the property, as well as some hidden gems we hadn’t thought about. He wanted us to gain the most from our visit.

Our guide showed us President Jefferson’s beautiful architecture of his home, that he designed and built, his many inventions like the dumbwaiter, macaroni making machine, the crops he grew in his garden to eat and sell, his ice house, his library, and how his family cooked and lived. It was a wonderful guided tour full of purpose and direction.

When we left there, my husband, Allan, and I were discussing how we would have enjoyed the visit if it were a self-guided tour; but the tour guide helped shed light on so much more than we could have imagined.

Our family still carries fond memories of this road trip. Who are you taking on your “road trip” through life? Where are you going? What legacy do you want to leave? We are all leaving a legacy…whether we want to or not. Are you leaving one intentionally or by chance?

There will be detours along the way. Some will fuel your soul…others will test your resolve. You may even find yourself asking for directions.

Whether you use paper maps, or rely on your phone to get you from point A to B…you must know where you currently are. Without that, directions are useless.

Personal development pioneer, Zig Ziglar recounts a story of when he was traveling across the country, giving speeches for free.

He began two hours early to make sure he would arrive a little early. He stopped for directions when he was lost. The person he asked drew a little map for him. He followed it and 45 minutes later he was further away from his destination. He then asked again and found his destination. Imagine if Zig Ziglar had given up after the first time.

When Zig Ziglar was going in the wrong direction and was again lost, he didn’t have a meltdown. Instead he asked again, and then again for directions until he found his destination.

How often do you check in with your goals to see if you are on track?

Are you willing to pivot when needed to change your destination?

Living a successful life is like a wheel.  Imagine your car wheel having 7 spokes.

For this exercise, grab a sheet of paper and draw a small circle with 7 spokes leading away from it with 10 marks on the line. 1 is closest to the center, 10 is at the outer edge.

The First Spoke of your Wheel is the Mental spoke of your wheel:

Do you find yourself focusing on where you are going, or spend most of your time thinking about the “good old days”?

Do you read, listen to audios, and watch videos that help you stretch mentally?

Rate yourself from 1 to 10. (10 is the top).

  1. Financial Spoke: Financially how are you doing?

 Do you have a goal for income, spending, saving?

 Do you tell your money where to go by using a budget, or do you get to the end of the month and wonder where  your money went?

Do you have insurance? Do you have an emergency fund?

Rate yourself 1 to 10. No one sees this but you!

  1. Spiritual: Do you feel connected to a higher power? Do you feel like you are fulfilling plans for a magnificent future? Are you living life on virtues?

       Rate yourself 1 to 10.

  1. Career/Professional: What are you doing to grow your stack of skills that will make you more marketable in the future? (If you are raising small children, that is more than a full time job, but you still need to grow in your skills as a parent).

  A year from now is this where you want to be?

  How is your attitude, effort, and skill?

  Rate yourself 1 to 10.

  1. Personal Life:  How are you taking care of yourself?

   Do you make time to relax and rejuvenate, or are you constantly running from one thing to the next?

   What hobbies bring you joy? (You may realize that you got away from doing things that brought you joy when    life became busy. Pick up that guitar, paintbrush, or whatever else refreshes your soul ).  (Rate yourself 1 to 10)

  1. Physical: Do you get 7 hours of sleep each night? Do you fuel your body with real food, or do you cook out of a box?    Do you drink enough water?     Are you working out?                                                                           (Rate yourself 1 to 10)
  2. Family: Do you have good relationships with your family? (Rate yourself 1 to 10)

Where do you feel you accel, and what do you need to work on? Most problems in any relationship are rooted in communication (or a lack thereof). It is easy to blame others…but you can’t change others. Own the situation and sharpen your communication skills.

Connect the dots. Does your diagram resemble a wheel, or does it look uneven?

Despite everyone wanting to show the world that they are perfect, we all realize that each of the areas in our lives are in constant transition. The outer edges of your circle have high points and low points.

You may be able to maneuver with a flat tire at 5 mph in a parking lot. What happens if you pull onto the highway of life? Things likely spin out of control.

Which of the 7 spokes of your wheel needs attention?

What is one thing you can do to improve the measure of that one spoke every day for the next 10 days? You will be amazed by the improvement that every day action steps can make!

There is a cost to leading a fulfilling life. There are only 24 hours in a day.

There are quite a few parallels between this wheel of life and Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues.

  1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. TRANQUILITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

How did Franklin acquire these virtues?

“My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once,  but “to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that”, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone through’ the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arranged them with that view, as they stand above. Temperance first, as it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits, and the force of perpetual temptations. This being acquired and established, Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to gain knowledge at the same time that I improved in virtue, and considering that in conversation it was obtained rather by the use of the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning, and joking, which only made me acceptable to trifling company, I gave Silence the second place.”

 This is exactly the way to repair each spoke of your wheel step by step like Benjamin Franklin mastered each of the 13 virtues!

 So, what steps will you write down to repair the spoke of your wheel of life that needs attention?

© 2023 Madeline Frank.    https://www.madelinefrank.com/blog/road-trip/
To contact Madeline for your next speaking engagement at [email protected]
“Education Chief Says Music Can Rebuild Connections to School” (Oct. 20, 2022) by Kristin M. Hall

 “U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s household as a child was filled with music. Both his parents were performers, and he and his siblings were their backing band.” He says, “My brother played the guitar and I played percussion. My sister joined in on choruses. We grew up together singing, and music was a huge part of our growing up and our connection to our roots.”

“But he says in too many school systems, students don’t have access to music education or instruments. After two years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. schools are struggling with teacher shortages in some areas, renewed calls for school security and dramatic setbacks in learning . Cardona believes music education is a part of the solution to rebuilding students and their schools.”

“Now as a father, seeing how music teachers have helped my children these last two years, they were high schoolers in the pandemic, and they missed their sense of community,” said Cardona. “And those music teachers know how to reconnect them to community.”

The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:

  “Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun easy way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.:

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon. To order your copy as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:
 “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World”. This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album click below:
Download Your Copy Today!
Amazon | iTunes


Wishing you and your family a happy and successful New Year, from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline

For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award-winning teacher, an amazon.com best-selling author, researcher, speaker, conductor, and concert artist. She has discovered a scientific link between studying a musical instrument and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2023 Madeline Frank.