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PhD, Biomedical Sciences | Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College Station, Texas
MS, Anatomy | Baylor University, Waco, Texas
BS, Biology | Texas A&M University, College Station
An anatomist by training, Dr. Spears teaches Head and Neck Anatomy, Oral Biology, and Neuroscience at UTSD and serves as a facilitator for the clinical applications courses. His research focuses on how the nervous and immune systems interact during pain and inflammation, with particular emphasis on the TMJ.
Nationally, he serves on the ADEA Annual Session Planning Committee and the Commission on Change and Innovation, and he is a past member of the Council of Faculties. He was the AADR National Student Research Group Faculty Advisor from 2001-2010 and currently chairs the Fellowships Committee. He also serves as a commission consultant site reviewer in the basic sciences for the Commission on Dental Accreditation. At the state level, Spears is a Texas Anatomical Board Representative and an accreditation site reviewer for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Locally, he serves on several committees.
He is a past recipient of a Teaching Fellowship from the Harvard Macy Institute’s Program for Educators in the Health Professions, and the American Association of Anatomists Basmajian Award.
In spring 2016, UTSD students chose him to receive The John H. Freeman Award for Faculty Teaching. Prior to joining the UTSD faculty in 2015, Spears was Teacher of the Year in 2014, 2006 and 1997 at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry.