School of Public Health
Division of Environmental Health Sciences
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-7360
Clarified environmental chemistry and identified route of exposure of organophosphate residues poisoning California farm workers. This research provided a scientific foundation for the California regulations protecting farm workers.
Developed methods for the quantification of the effects of uncertainty and variability on environmental health risks which have influenced both risk assessment methods and regulatory strategies.
Led studies of the environmental characteristics underlying the prevalence of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis in the mountainous regions of China and their implications for disease control programs.
Current Research Interests
Mathematical modeling of toxicological and infectious processes
Statistical issues in exposure assessment
R.C. Spear, W.J. Popendorf, J.T. Leffingwell, T.H. Milby, J.E. Davis and W.F. Spencer, Fieldworkers Response to Weathered Residues of Parathion, J. of Occup. Med. 19(6):406–410, 1977.
R.C. Spear, W.J. Popendorf, W.F. Spencer and T.H. Milby, Worker Poisoning Due to Paraoxon Residue, J. of Occup. Med. 19(6):411–414, 1977.
R.C. Spear and G.M. Hornberger, Eutrophication in Peel Inlet: II. Identification of Critical Uncertainties Via Generalized Sensitivity Analysis, Water Research 14:43–49, 1980.
R. C. Spear, E. Seto, S. Liang, M. Birkner, A. Hubbard, D. Qiu, C. Yang, B. Zong, F. Xu, X. Gu, and G. M. Davis, Factors Influencing the Transmission of Schistosoma Japonicum in the Mountains of Sichuan Province, Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 70(10), 48–56, 2004.
S. Wang and R.C. Spear, Exploring the contribution of host susceptibility to epidemiological patterns of S. japonicuminfection using an individually-based model, Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 92, 1245-1252 , 2015 doi10.4269/ajtmh.14-0691.
Research Adviser for Graduate Students
Dr. Spear is an engineer by training. His research interests focus on the assessment and quantification of human exposures to toxic and infectious agents in the environment. His early work concerned the exposure of agricultural workers to pesticides. In recent years his research has concerned the use of mathematical and statistical techniques in the assessment and control of exposures to both chemical and biological agents. His current work is in collaboration with colleagues both at Berkeley and at the Sichuan Institute of Parasitic Disease in China focused on determinants of the incidence and control of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis. The innovative aspects of this work relate to the integration of traditional epidemiological field data, utilizing geographic information system technology, with that available from both high and low resolution remotely sensed data. Both sources of data are integrated through mathematical models that allow both tracking and forecasting of disease intensity over time. Recent work has focused on the importance of exposure versus individual susceptibility as bases for disease surveillance in low transmission environments.