Mitchel S. Berger MD


Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurological Surgery

Berthold and Belle N. Guggenhime Endowed Chair

Director, Brain Tumor Surgery Program

Director, Neurosurgical Research Centers, Brain Tumor Research Center

UCSF Neurological Surgery Faculty since 1997

Dr. Berger's main clinical interests are the treatment of brain tumors in adults and children and of epilepsy related to brain tumors. He has extensive expertise in intraoperative mapping of the brain to identify the sites of motor, sensory, and language function and thereby avoid their involvement or injury during surgery. Dr. Berger is Director of the Adult Hydrocephalus and Shunt Program, and he also practices in the Neuro-Oncology Program and the Radiosurgery Program.

His current research interests involve identifying molecular markers in gliomas as correlates of tumor progression and prognosis. This is done in conjunction with the Molecular Marker Core of the BTRC. He also works in conjunction with Dr. Krys Bankiewicz to test small molecule inhibitors in brain tumors using the drug delivery technique of convection enhanced delivery. He is a co-investigator with Dr. John Park in UCSF's Comprehensive Cancer Center to develop immunoliposome-directed targeted therapy for treating gliomas that express EGF receptors. Other collaborations include functional mapping localization of language pathways in the brain in conjunction with Dr. Robert Knight and the Cognitive Neuroscience Graduate Program at UC Berkeley. Dr. Berger is currently the Principal Investigator of UCSF's SPORE Brain Tumor Program, funded by the National Cancer Institute and NINDS. He was recently named to the Blue Ribbon Panel for the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

Read a Q&A with Dr. Berger

Education, Training, and Previous Positions

1974: BA, Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1979: MD, University of Miami School of Medicine
1979-1980: Internship, UCSF
1980-1985: Residency in Neurological Surgery, UCSF
1985: Clinical Fellowship in Neuro-oncology, Brain Tumor Research Center at UCSF
1986: Fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital for Sick Children of the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
1986: Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle/Concomitant appointments as Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgical Oncology at the Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle and Chief of the Northwest Neuro-Oncology Research & Therapy Section at the University of Washington
1990: Associate Professor at the University of Washington
1996: Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington

Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments

Board of Directors, American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
American Academy of Neurological Surgery
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for Cancer Research
American College of Surgeons
American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Society of Gene Therapy
American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
California Association of Neurological Surgeons
Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS)
Executive Committee, Joint Tumor Section, AANS and CNS
National Tuberous Sclerosis Association
Neurosurgical Society of American
Pediatric Section, AANS and CNS
San Francisco Medical Society
Society of Neurological Surgeons
Society for Neuro-Oncology
Society of Surgical Oncology
Vanderbilt Meacham Society
World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies
Medical Advisor, North American Brain Tumor Coalition
Executive Council, American Brain Tumor Association
Advisory Council, National Brain Tumor Foundation
NFL Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee
Editorial board: The American Journal of Neuroradiology
Editorial board: The Journal of Neuro-Oncology
Editorial board: Journal of Neurosurgery
Editorial board: Neuro-Oncology
Editorial board: Neurosurgery
Editorial board: Operative Neurosurgery
Editorial board: Techniques in Neurosurgery

Selected Honors and Awards

1979: Lange Medical Publishing Company Medical Student Award for Outstanding Academic Performance, University of Miami School of Medicine
1979: Alpha Omega Alpha Award for Best Patient-Student Physician Relationship During Clinical Clerkships, University of Miami School of Medicine
1983: Donald Matson Award in Pediatric Neurosurgical Research from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS)
1991: Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery
1993: Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS)
1994: Appointed to the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons
1997-1999: President of the Society for Neuro-Oncology
1997-1998: Vice President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons
1997-present: Director of the Brain Tumor Research Center, UCSF
1999: Appointment to the Board of Directors of the California Division of the American Cancer Society (ACS)
2002-present: America's Top Doctors, Castle Connolly Medical Ltd.
2004: UCSF Medical Center THANKS Star Award for exceptional contribution
2005-2006: Appointed Chairman of the Scientific Program Committee, AANS Annual Meeting
2006: Ronald L. Bittner Lecturer, Tumor Section, AANS Annual Meeting
2006: Farber Award, AANS Annual Meeting
2006: Jeannette and Bernard S. Post MD Endowed Lecturer, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
2006: UCSF Medical Center THANKS Star Award for exceptional contribution
2007-2010: Director, American Board of Neurological Surgery
2007-2010: Board of Directors, American Association of Neurological Surgeons
2009: Winn Prize, Society of Neurological Surgeons
2009: Elected Member, UCSF Institute of Molecular Medicine
2010: Vice President, American Association of Neurological Surgeons
2010-2013: Secretary, American Academy of Neurological Surgery
2011: President Elect, American Association of Neurological Surgeons
2012: President, American Association of Neurological Surgeons
2015: President, American Academy of Neurological Surgery 

Selected Recent Publications


Bernstein M, Berger MS (eds): Neuro-Oncology: The Essentials, Second Edition. Thieme, New York, 2008, 496 pp.

Bernstein M, Berger MS (eds): Neuro-Oncology: The Essentials. Thieme, New York, 2000, 528 pp.

Berger MS, Wilson CD (eds): The Gliomas. WB Saunders, Philadelphia, 1998, 796 pp.

Berger MS (guest ed): Neurosurgery Clinics of North America, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (vol 3, no 4). WB Saunders, Philadelphia, October 1992.


Winkler EA, Yue JK, Burke JF, Chan AK, Dhall SS, Berger MS, Manley GT, Tarapore PE. Adult sports-related traumatic brain injury in United States trauma centers. Neurosurg Focus. 2016 Apr;40(4):E4. doi: 10.3171/2016.1.FOCUS15613. PubMed PMID: 27032921.

Yue JK, Winkler EA, Burke JF, Chan AK, Dhall SS, Berger MS, Manley GT, Tarapore PE. Pediatric sports-related traumatic brain injury in United States trauma centers. Neurosurg Focus. 2016 Apr;40(4):E3. doi: 10.3171/2016.1.FOCUS15612. PubMed PMID: 27032920.

Ban VS, Bailes JE, Berger MS, Vaccaro AR, Hunt Batjer H. Introduction: Sports injuries: diagnosis and management strategies. Neurosurg Focus. 2016 Apr;40(4):E2. doi: 10.3171/2016.1.FOCUS1633. PubMed PMID: 27032919.

Berger MS, Weller M. Preface. Handb Clin Neurol. 2016;134:ix. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-802997-8.09988-6. PubMed PMID: 26948370.

Berger MS, Hervey-Jumper S, Wick W. Astrocytic gliomas WHO grades II and III. Handb Clin Neurol. 2016;134:345-60. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-802997-8.00021-9. PubMed PMID: 26948365.

Jalbert LE, Neill E, Phillips JJ, Lupo JM, Olson MP, Molinaro AM, Berger MS, Chang SM, Nelson SJ. Magnetic resonance analysis of malignant transformation in recurrent glioma. Neuro Oncol. 2016 Feb 23. pii: now008. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26911151.

Chang EF, Breshears JD, Raygor KP, Lau D, Molinaro AM, Berger MS. Stereotactic probability and variability of speech arrest and anomia sites during stimulation mapping of the language dominant hemisphere. J Neurosurg. 2016 Feb 19:1-8. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26894457.

Dasgupta T, Olow AK, Yang X, Hashizume R, Nicolaides TP, Tom M, Aoki Y, Berger MS, Weiss WA, Stalpers LJ, Prados M, James CD, Mueller S, Haas-Kogan DA. Erratum to: Survival advantage combining a BRAF inhibitor and radiation in BRAF V600E-mutant glioma. J Neurooncol. 2016 Feb;126(3):395. doi: 10.1007/s11060-015-2024-6. PubMed PMID: 26782702.

Tarapore PE, Picht T, Bulubas L, Shin Y, Kulchytska N, Meyer B, Berger MS, Nagarajan SS, Krieg SM. Safety and tolerability of navigated TMS for preoperative mapping in neurosurgical patients. Clin Neurophysiol. 2016 Mar;127(3):1895-900. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2015.11.042. Epub 2015 Dec 11. PubMed PMID: 26762952.

Caverzasi E, Hervey-Jumper SL, Jordan KM, Lobach IV, Li J, Panara V, Racine CA, Sankaranarayanan V, Amirbekian B, Papinutto N, Berger MS, Henry RG. Identifying preoperative language tracts and predicting postoperative functional recovery using HARDI q-ball fiber tractography in patients with gliomas. J Neurosurg. 2015 Dec 11:1-13. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26654181.

Walsh KM, Codd V, Rice T, Nelson CP, Smirnov IV, McCoy LS, Hansen HM, Elhauge E, Ojha J, Francis SS, Madsen NR, Bracci PM, Pico AR, Molinaro AM, Tihan T, Berger MS, Chang SM, Prados MD, Jenkins RB, Wiemels JL; ENGAGE Consortium Telomere Group, Samani NJ, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR. Longer genotypically-estimated leukocyte telomere length is associated with increased adult glioma risk. Oncotarget. 2015 Dec 15;6(40):42468-77. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.6468. PubMed PMID: 26646793; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4767445.

Englot DJ, Magill ST, Han SJ, Chang EF, Berger MS, McDermott MW. Seizures in supratentorial meningioma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Neurosurg. 2015 Dec 4:1-10. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26636386.

Lerner RG, Grossauer S, Kadkhodaei B, Meyers I, Sidorov M, Koeck K, Hashizume R, Ozawa T, Phillips JJ, Berger MS, Nicolaides T, James CD, Petritsch CK. Targeting a Plk1-Controlled Polarity Checkpoint in Therapy-Resistant Glioblastoma-Propagating Cells. Cancer Res. 2015 Dec 15;75(24):5355-66. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-3689. Epub 2015 Nov 16. PubMed PMID: 26573800; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4698003.

Lau D, Hervey-Jumper SL, Chang S, Molinaro AM, McDermott MW, Phillips JJ, Berger MS. A prospective Phase II clinical trial of 5-aminolevulinic acid to assess the correlation of intraoperative fluorescence intensity and degree of histologic cellularity during resection of high-grade gliomas. J Neurosurg. 2015 Nov 6:1-10. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26544781.

Southwell DG, Hervey-Jumper SL, Perry DW, Berger MS. Intraoperative mapping during repeat awake craniotomy reveals the functional plasticity of adult cortex. J Neurosurg. 2015 Nov 6:1-10. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26544767.

Imber BS, Braunstein SE, Wu FY, Nabavizadeh N, Boehling N, Weinberg VK, Tihan T, Barnes M, Mueller S, Butowski NA, Clarke JL, Chang SM, McDermott MM, Prados MD, Berger MS, Haas-Kogan DA. Clinical outcome and prognostic factors for central neurocytoma: twenty year institutional experience. J Neurooncol. 2016 Jan;126(1):193-200. PubMed PMID: 26493740; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4826306.

Sughrue M, Kane A, Rutkowski MJ, Berger MS, McDermott MW. Meningiomas of the Anterior Clinoid Process: Is It Wise to Drill Out the Optic Canal? Cureus. 2015 Sep 10;7(9):e321. doi: 10.7759/cureus.321. PubMed PMID: 26487997; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4601888.

Hervey-Jumper SL, Berger MS. Technical nuances of awake brain tumor surgery and the role of maximum safe resection. J Neurosurg Sci. 2015 Dec;59(4):351-60. Epub 2015 Sep 22. PubMed PMID: 26394241.

Dasgupta T, Olow AK, Yang X, Hashizume R, Nicolaides TP, Tom M, Aoki Y, Berger MS, Weiss WA, Stalpers LJ, Prados M, David James C, Mueller S, Haas-Kogan DA. Survival advantage combining a BRAF inhibitor and radiation in BRAF V600E-mutant glioma. J Neurooncol. 2016 Feb;126(3):385-93. doi: 10.1007/s11060-015-1939-2. Epub 2015 Sep 18. Erratum in: J Neurooncol. 2016 Feb;126(3):395. PubMed PMID: 26384810.

Hervey-Jumper SL, Li J, Osorio JA, Lau D, Molinaro AM, Benet A, Berger MS. Surgical assessment of the insula. Part 2: validation of the Berger-Sanai zone classification system for predicting extent of glioma resection. J Neurosurg. 2016 Feb;124(2):482-8. doi: 10.3171/2015.4.JNS1521. Epub 2015 Sep 4. PubMed PMID: 26339856.

Benet A, Hervey-Jumper SL, Sánchez JJ, Lawton MT, Berger MS. Surgical assessment of the insula. Part 1: surgical anatomy and morphometric analysis of the transsylvian and transcortical approaches to the insula. J Neurosurg. 2016 Feb;124(2):469-81. doi: 10.3171/2014.12.JNS142182. Epub 2015 Sep 4. PubMed PMID: 26339854.

Gardner RC, Possin KL, Hess CP, Huang EJ, Grinberg LT, Nolan AL, Cohn-Sheehy BI, Ghosh PM, Lanata S, Merrilees J, Kramer JH, Berger MS, Miller BL, Yaffe K, Rabinovici GD. Evaluating and treating neurobehavioral symptoms in professional American football players: Lessons from a case series. Neurol Clin Pract. 2015 Aug;5(4):285-295. PubMed PMID: 26336629; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4549717.

Perry DC, Sturm VE, Peterson MJ, Pieper CF, Bullock T, Boeve BF, Miller BL, Guskiewicz KM, Berger MS, Kramer JH, Welsh-Bohmer KA. Association of traumatic brain injury with subsequent neurological and psychiatric disease: a meta-analysis. J Neurosurg. 2016 Feb;124(2):511-26. doi: 10.3171/2015.2.JNS14503. Epub 2015 Aug 28. PubMed PMID: 26315003; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4751029.

Barajas RF Jr, Phillips JJ, Vandenberg SR, McDermott MW, Berger MS, Dillon WP, Cha S. Pro-angiogenic cellular and genomic expression patterns within glioblastoma influences dynamic susceptibility weighted perfusion MRI. Clin Radiol. 2015 Oct;70(10):1087-95. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2015.03.006. Epub 2015 Jul 29. PubMed PMID: 26231469.

Han SJ, Englot DJ, Birk H, Molinaro AM, Chang SM, Clarke JL, Prados MD, Taylor JW, Berger MS, Butowski NA. Impact of Timing of Concurrent Chemoradiation for Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma: A Critical Review of Current Evidence. Neurosurgery. 2015 Aug;62 Suppl 1:160-5. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000801. Review. PubMed PMID: 26181937.

Wilson SM, Lam D, Babiak MC, Perry DW, Shih T, Hess CP, Berger MS, Chang EF. Transient aphasias after left hemisphere resective surgery. J Neurosurg. 2015 Sep;123(3):581-93. doi: 10.3171/2015.4.JNS141962. Epub 2015 Jun 26. PubMed PMID: 26115463; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4558229.

Eckel-Passow JE, Lachance DH, Molinaro AM, Walsh KM, Decker PA, Sicotte H, Pekmezci M, Rice T, Kosel ML, Smirnov IV, Sarkar G, Caron AA, Kollmeyer TM, Praska CE, Chada AR, Halder C, Hansen HM, McCoy LS, Bracci PM, Marshall R, Zheng S, Reis GF, Pico AR, O'Neill BP, Buckner JC, Giannini C, Huse JT, Perry A, Tihan T, Berger MS, Chang SM, Prados MD, Wiemels J, Wiencke JK, Wrensch MR, Jenkins RB. Glioma Groups Based on 1p/19q, IDH, and TERT Promoter Mutations in Tumors. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jun 25;372(26):2499-508.

Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, Brat DJ, Verhaak RG, Aldape KD, et al. Comprehensive, Integrative Genomic Analysis of Diffuse Lower-Grade Gliomas. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jun 25;372(26):2481-98. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1402121. Epub 2015 Jun 10. PubMed PMID: 26061751; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4530011.

Gardner RC, Hess CP, Brus-Ramer M, Possin KL, Cohn-Sheehy BI, Kramer JH, Berger MS, Yaffe K, Miller B, Rabinovici GD. Cavum Septum Pellucidum in Retired American Pro-Football Players. J Neurotrauma. 2016 Jan 1;33(1):157-61. doi: 10.1089/neu.2014.3805. Epub 2015 Jul 17. PubMed PMID: 25970145; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4696427.

Racine CA, Li J, Molinaro AM, Butowski N, Berger MS. Neurocognitive Function in Newly Diagnosed Low-grade Glioma Patients Undergoing Surgical Resection With Awake Mapping Techniques. Neurosurgery. 2015 Sep;77(3):371-9; discussion 379. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000779. PubMed PMID: 25930064.

Hervey-Jumper SL, Li J, Lau D, Molinaro AM, Perry DW, Meng L, Berger MS. Awake craniotomy to maximize glioma resection: methods and technical nuances over a 27-year period. J Neurosurg. 2015 Aug;123(2):325-39. doi: 10.3171/2014.10.JNS141520. Epub 2015 Apr 24. PubMed PMID: 25909573.

Han SJ, Rutledge WC, Molinaro AM, Chang SM, Clarke JL, Prados MD, Taylor JW, Berger MS, Butowski NA. The Effect of Timing of Concurrent Chemoradiation in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma. Neurosurgery. 2015 Aug;77(2):248-53; discussion 253. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000766. PubMed PMID: 25856113; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4506198.

Zarnett OJ, Sahgal A, Gosio J, Perry J, Berger MS, Chang S, Das S. Treatment of elderly patients with glioblastoma: a systematic evidence-based analysis. JAMA Neurol. 2015 May;72(5):589-96. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.3739. Review. PubMed PMID: 25822375.

Meng L, Berger MS, Gelb AW. The Potential Benefits of Awake Craniotomy for Brain Tumor Resection: An Anesthesiologist's Perspective. J Neurosurg Anesthesiol. 2015 Oct;27(4):310-7. doi: 10.1097/ANA.0000000000000179. PubMed PMID: 25811363.

Han SJ, Rolston JD, Lau CY, Berger MS. Improving patient safety in neurologic surgery. Neurosurg Clin N Am. 2015 Apr;26(2):143-7, vii. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Nov 6. Review. PubMed PMID: 25771269.

van Thuijl HF, Mazor T, Johnson BE, Fouse SD, Aihara K, Hong C, Malmström A, Hallbeck M, Heimans JJ, Kloezeman JJ, Stenmark-Askmalm M, Lamfers ML, Saito N, Aburatani H, Mukasa A, Berger MS, Söderkvist P, Taylor BS, Molinaro AM, Wesseling P, Reijneveld JC, Chang SM, Ylstra B, Costello JF. Evolution of DNA repair defects during malignant progression of low-grade gliomas after temozolomide treatment. Acta Neuropathol. 2015 Apr;129(4):597-607. doi: 10.1007/s00401-015-1403-6. Epub 2015 Feb 28. PubMed PMID: 25724300; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4482618.

Hervey-Jumper SL, Berger MS. In reply: Reoperation for recurrent high-grade glioma: does tumor genetics play a role? Neurosurgery. 2015 Apr;76(4):E497. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000667. PubMed PMID: 25635894.

Rolston JD, Englot DJ, Benet A, Li J, Cha S, Berger MS. Frontal operculum gliomas: language outcome following resection. J Neurosurg. 2015 Apr;122(4):725-34. doi: 10.3171/2014.11.JNS132172. Epub 2015 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 25635477.

Li N, Maly DJ, Chanthery YH, Sirkis DW, Nakamura JL, Berger MS, James CD, Shokat KM, Weiss WA, Persson AI. Radiotherapy followed by aurora kinase inhibition targets tumor-propagating cells in human glioblastoma. Mol Cancer Ther. 2015 Feb;14(2):419-28. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-14-0526. Epub 2014 Dec 18. PubMed PMID: 25522764; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4326592.

Berger MS, Bruce JN, Chen TC, Zadeh G. Introduction: Glioblastoma: an update on pathophysiology and management strategies. Neurosurg Focus. 2014 Dec;37(6):Introduction. doi: 10.3171/2014.9.FOCUS14677. PubMed PMID: 25434392.

Chang EF, Raygor KP, Berger MS. Contemporary model of language organization: an overview for neurosurgeons. J Neurosurg. 2015 Feb;122(2):250-61. doi: 10.3171/2014.10.JNS132647. Epub 2014 Nov 28. Review. PubMed PMID: 25423277.

Trinh VT, Davies JM, Berger MS. Surgery for primary supratentorial brain tumors in the United States, 2000-2009: effect of provider and hospital caseload on complication rates. J Neurosurg. 2015 Feb;122(2):280-96. doi: 10.3171/2014.9.JNS131648. Epub 2014 Nov 14. PubMed PMID: 25397366.