Mitchel S. Berger MD


Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurological Surgery

Berthold and Belle N. Guggenhime Endowed Chair

Director, Brain Tumor Center

Director, Neurosurgical Research Centers, Brain Tumor Research Center

UCSF Neurological Surgery Faculty since 1997

Dr. Berger is Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery and Director of the UCSF Brain Tumor Center. 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. 

His current research interests involve identifying molecular markers in gliomas as correlates of tumor progression and prognosis, as well as the organization of speech in the human brain. He has also worked with Dr. Krys Bankiewicz to test small molecule inhibitors in brain tumors using the drug delivery technique of convection enhanced delivery. Dr. Berger is currently the Principal Investigator of UCSF's SPORE Brain Tumor Program, funded by the National Cancer Institute and NINDS. He was named to the Blue Ribbon Panel for the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative in 2016 to help guide the scientific goals of the NIH's cancer research agenda. 

Read a Q&A with Dr. Berger

Video: Mitchel Berger, Director of UCSF Brain Tumor Center

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.


Morshed RA, Young JS, Han SJ, Hervey-Jumper SL, Berger MS. The transcortical equatorial approach for gliomas of the mesial temporal lobe: techniques and functional outcomes. J Neurosurg. 2018 Apr 20:1-9. doi: 10.3171/2017.10.JNS172055. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29676697.

Magill ST, Morshed RA, Lucas CG, Aghi MK, Theodosopoulos PV, Berger MS, de Divitiis O, Solari D, Cappabianca P, Cavallo LM, McDermott MW. Tuberculum sellae meningiomas: grading scale to assess surgical outcomes using the transcranial versus transsphenoidal approach. Neurosurg Focus. 2018 Apr;44(4):E9. doi: 10.3171/2018.1.FOCUS17753. PubMed PMID: 29606045.

Vasudevan HN, Braunstein SE, Phillips JJ, Pekmezci M, Tomlin BA, Wu A, Reis GF, Magill ST, Zhang J, Feng FY, Nicholaides T, Chang SM, Sneed PK, McDermott MW, Berger MS, Perry A, Raleigh DR. Comprehensive Molecular Profiling Identifies FOXM1 as a Key Transcription Factor for Meningioma Proliferation. Cell Rep. 2018 Mar 27;22(13):3672-3683. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.03.013. PubMed PMID: 29590631.

Rhodes CT, Zunino G, Huang SA, Cardona SM, Cardona AE, Berger MS, Lemmon VP, Lin CA. Region specific knock-out reveals distinct roles of chromatin modifiers in adult neurogenic niches. Cell Cycle. 2018;17(3):377-389. doi: 10.1080/15384101.2018.1426417. Epub 2018 Feb 19. PubMed PMID: 29433384; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5914887.

Wang Q, Hu B, Hu X, Kim H, Squatrito M, Scarpace L, deCarvalho AC, Lyu S, Li P, Li Y, Barthel F, Cho HJ, Lin YH, Satani N, Martinez-Ledesma E, Zheng S, Chang E, Gabriel Sauvé CE, Olar A, Lan ZD, Finocchiaro G, Phillips JJ, Berger MS, Gabrusiewicz KR, Wang G, Eskilsson E, Hu J, Mikkelsen T, DePinho RA, Muller F, Heimberger AB, Sulman EP, Nam DH, Verhaak RGW. Tumor Evolution of Glioma-Intrinsic Gene Expression Subtypes Associates with Immunological Changes in the Microenvironment. Cancer Cell. 2018 Jan 8;33(1):152. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2017.12.012. PubMed PMID: 29316430; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5892424.

Flanigan PM, Jahangiri A, Golubovsky JL, Karnuta JM, May FJ, Berger MS, Aghi MK. A cross-sectional study of neurosurgical department chairs in the United States. J Neurosurg. 2018 Jan 5:1-7. doi: 10.3171/2017.7.JNS17567. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29303441.

Magill ST, Han SJ, Li J, Berger MS. Resection of primary motor cortex tumors: feasibility and surgical outcomes. J Neurosurg. 2017 Dec 8:1-12. doi: 10.3171/2017.5.JNS163045. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29219753.

Sanai N, Berger MS. Surgical oncology for gliomas: the state of the art. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2018 Feb;15(2):112-125. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2017.171. Epub 2017 Nov 21. Review. PubMed PMID: 29158591.

Wang DD, Deng H, Hervey-Jumper SL, Molinaro AA, Chang EF, Berger MS. Seizure Outcome After Surgical Resection of Insular Glioma. Neurosurgery. 2017 Nov 8. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx486. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29126238.

Southwell DG, Birk HS, Han SJ, Li J, Sall JW, Berger MS. Resection of gliomas deemed inoperable by neurosurgeons based on preoperative imaging studies. J Neurosurg. 2017 Nov 10:1-9. doi: 10.3171/2017.5.JNS17166. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29125414.

Byron SA, Tran NL, Halperin RF, Phillips JJ, Kuhn JG, de Groot JF, Colman H, Ligon KL, Wen PY, Cloughesy TF, Mellinghoff IK, Butowski NA, Taylor JW, Clarke JL, Chang SM, Berger MS, Molinaro AM, Maggiora GM, Peng S, Nasser S, Liang WS, Trent JM, Berens ME, Carpten JD, Craig DW, Prados MD. Prospective Feasibility Trial for Genomics-Informed Treatment in Recurrent and Progressive Glioblastoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Jan 15;24(2):295-305. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-0963. Epub 2017 Oct 26. PubMed PMID: 29074604.

McCarron A, Chavez A, Babiak M, Berger MS, Chang EF, Wilson SM. Connected speech in transient aphasias after left hemisphere resective surgery. Aphasiology. 2017;31(11):1266-1281. doi: 10.1080/02687038.2017.1278740. Epub 2017 Jan 17. PubMed PMID: 29056810; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5646839.

Das S, Kim AH, Chang S, Berger MS. Management of Elderly Patients with Glioblastoma after CE.6. Front Oncol. 2017 Aug 30;7:196. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2017.00196. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28913179; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5582080.

Magill ST, Wang DD, Rutledge WC, Lau D, Berger MS, Sankaran S, Lau CY, Imershein SG. Changing Operating Room Culture: Implementation of a Postoperative Debrief and Improved Safety Culture. World Neurosurg. 2017 Nov;107:597-603. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.08.090. Epub 2017 Aug 24. PubMed PMID: 28843757.

Alexander BM, Ba S, Berger MS, Berry DA, Cavenee WK, Chang SM, Cloughesy TF, Jiang T, Khasraw M, Li W, Mittman R, Poste GH, Wen PY, Yung WKA, Barker AD; GBM AGILE Network. Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment for Glioblastoma: GBM AGILE. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Feb 15;24(4):737-743. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-0764. Epub 2017 Aug 16. Review. PubMed PMID: 28814435.

Lau D, Hervey-Jumper SL, Han SJ, Berger MS. Intraoperative perception and estimates on extent of resection during awake glioma surgery: overcoming the learning curve. J Neurosurg. 2018 May;128(5):1410-1418. doi: 10.3171/2017.1.JNS161811. Epub 2017 Jul 21. PubMed PMID: 28731401.

Morshed RA, Han SJ, Lau D, Berger MS. Wavelength-specific lighted suction instrument for 5-aminolevulinic acid fluorescence-guided resection of deep-seated malignant glioma: technical note. J Neurosurg. 2018 May;128(5):1448-1453. doi: 10.3171/2017.1.JNS161949. Epub 2017 Jun 30. PubMed PMID: 28665248.

Flanigan PM, Jahangiri A, Kuang R, Truong A, Choi S, Chou A, Rick JW, Chang SM, Molinaro AM, McDermott MW, Berger MS, Aghi MK. Improved Survival with Decreased Wait Time to Surgery in Glioblastoma Patients Presenting with Seizure. Neurosurgery. 2017 Nov 1;81(5):824-833. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx084. PubMed PMID: 28541497.

López G, Oberheim Bush NA, Berger MS, Perry A, Solomon DA. Diffuse non-midline glioma with H3F3A K27M mutation: a prognostic and treatment dilemma. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2017 May 15;5(1):38. doi: 10.1186/s40478-017-0440-x. PubMed PMID: 28506301; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5433088.

Flanigan PM, Jahangiri A, Kuang R, Truong A, Choi S, Chou A, Molinaro AM, McDermott MW, Berger MS, Aghi MK. Developing an Algorithm for Optimizing Care of Elderly Patients With Glioblastoma. Neurosurgery. 2018 Jan 1;82(1):64-75. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx148. PubMed PMID: 28475720.

Zygourakis CC, Liu CY, Yoon S, Moriates C, Boscardin C, Dudley RA, Lawton MT, Theodosopoulos P, Berger MS, Gonzales R. Analysis of Cost Variation in Craniotomy for Tumor Using 2 National Databases. Neurosurgery. 2017 Dec 1;81(6):972-979. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx133. PubMed PMID: 28402457.

Kim DH, Duco B, Wolterman D, Stokes C, Brace R, Solomon RA, Barbaro N, Westmark R, MacDougall D, Bean J, O'Leary J, Moayeri N, Dacey RG Jr, Berger MS, Harbaugh R. A Review and Survey of Neurosurgeon-Hospital Relationships: Evolution and Options. Neurosurgery. 2017 Apr 1;80(4S):S10-S18. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyw171. Review. PubMed PMID: 28375496.

Jalbert LE, Elkhaled A, Phillips JJ, Neill E, Williams A, Crane JC, Olson MP, Molinaro AM, Berger MS, Kurhanewicz J, Ronen SM, Chang SM, Nelson SJ. Metabolic Profiling of IDH Mutation and Malignant Progression in Infiltrating Glioma. Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 22;7:44792. doi: 10.1038/srep44792. PubMed PMID: 28327577; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5361089.

Lin CA, Rhodes CT, Lin C, Phillips JJ, Berger MS. Comparative analyses identify molecular signature of MRI-classified SVZ-associated glioblastoma. Cell Cycle. 2017 Apr 18;16(8):765-775. doi: 10.1080/15384101.2017.1295186. Epub 2017 Feb 22. PubMed PMID: 28278055; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5405724.

Kim DH, Dacey RG, Zipfel GJ, Berger MS, McDermott M, Barbaro NM, Shapiro SA, Solomon RA, Harbaugh R, Day AL. Neurosurgical Education in a Changing Healthcare and Regulatory Environment: A Consensus Statement from 6 Programs. Neurosurgery. 2017 Apr 1;80(4S):S75-S82. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyw146. PubMed PMID: 28204661.

Southwell DG, Riva M, Jordan K, Caverzasi E, Li J, Perry DW, Henry RG, Berger MS. Language outcomes after resection of dominant inferior parietal lobule gliomas. J Neurosurg. 2017 Oct;127(4):781-789. doi: 10.3171/2016.8.JNS16443. Epub 2017 Jan 6. PubMed PMID: 28059657.

Safaee MM, Englot DJ, Han SJ, Lawton MT, Berger MS. The transsylvian approach for resection of insular gliomas: technical nuances of splitting the Sylvian fissure. J Neurooncol. 2016 Nov;130(2):283-287. Epub 2016 Jun 13. Review. PubMed PMID: 27294356.

Hervey-Jumper SL, Berger MS. Maximizing safe resection of low- and high-grade glioma. J Neurooncol. 2016 Nov;130(2):269-282. Epub 2016 May 12. Review. PubMed PMID: 27174197.

Olow A, Mueller S, Yang X, Hashizume R, Meyerowitz J, Weiss W, Resnick AC, Waanders AJ, Stalpers LJ, Berger MS, Gupta N, James CD, Petritsch CK, Haas-Kogan DA. BRAF Status in Personalizing Treatment Approaches for Pediatric Gliomas. Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Nov 1;22(21):5312-5321. Epub 2016 May 23. PubMed PMID: 27217440; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5093033.