Dr. Rheaclare Fraser-Spears is a member of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department at the University of Incarnate Word, joining in 2017 after completion of her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of TX Health Science Center in San Antonio (UTHSCSA). She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology at UTHSCSA. Dr. Fraser-Spears graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA with a B.S. in Biochemistry. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
During her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Fraser-Spears received a competitive appointment on two National Institutes of Health-funded training grants – the Drug Abuse Research: Behavior and Neurobiology, and the Institutional Research Academic Career Development Award programs. Dr. Fraser-Spears’ research background is in the field of Neuropharmacology. Her postdoctoral research project focused on the characterization of novel compounds to inhibit specific brain transporters and assess their effectiveness as new antidepressants.
She has published both her graduate and postdoctoral work in peer-reviewed journals and has enjoyed mentoring several high-school, undergraduate, and graduate students on research laboratory techniques and professional development. Dr. Fraser-Spears has traveled to present her research at a number of national and international scientific conferences. She is an active member of professional societies to include the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the International Society for Serotonin Research.
Dr. Fraser-Spears majored in biochemistry at Spelman College, received research training scholarships and summer internships, and solidified her plans to pursue graduate education. She obtained her Pharmacology doctorate from the University of Michigan and is now in her 3rd year of postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. In research, she examines how novel compounds target specific proteins to regulate important brain chemicals; these studies will potentially offer a new approach in the treatment of depression. Her research activities are conducted in the laboratory of Lynnette Daws, Ph.D., in the Department of Physiology. Rhea believes that on-going science education and exposure to contemporary research techniques are essential to continued scientific discovery. As an SABER*IRACDA scholar, she will acquire skills to become an effective science educator and enhance research opportunities for upcoming scientists.
Dr. Fraser-Spears anticipates helping her students learn the intricate relationship between a drug’s mechanism of action and its therapeutic effects, and to gain an appreciation for scientific research in the advancement of pharmaceutical treatments. Aside from science, she enjoys traveling, music & dancing, baking tasty treats, and cooking for her family & friends (especially dishes of her native Guyanese cuisine).