Biographical Information on Dr. Theodore W. Berger

Theodore W. Berger
Dr. Theodore W. Berger is the David Packard Professor of Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology, and Director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Berger received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1976; his thesis work received the James McKeen Cattell Award from the New York Academy of Sciences. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Irvine from 1977-1978, and was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow at The Salk Institute from 1978-1979.

Dr. Berger joined the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh in 1979, being promoted through to the level of Full Professor in 1987. During that time, he received a McKnight Foundation Scholar Award, twice received an NIMH Research Scientist Development Award, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Since 1992, he has been Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology at the University of Southern California, and was appointed the David Packard Chair of Engineering in 2003. While at USC, Dr. Berger has received an NIMH Senior Scientist Award, was awarded the Lockheed Senior Research Award in 1997, was elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 1998, received a Person of the Year "Impact Award" by the AARP for his work in neural prostheses, was a National Academy of Sciences International Scientist Lecturer in 2003, and a an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer in 2004-2005. Dr. Berger was elected a Senior Member of the IEEE in 2005, received a “Great Minds, Great Ideas” award from the EE Times in the same year, and in 2006 was awarded USC’s Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship.

Dr. Berger became Director of the Center for Neural Engineering in 1997, an organization that helps to unite USC faculty with cross-disciplinary interests in neuroscience, engineering, and medicine. He has published over 170 journal articles and book chapters, and is co-editor of a book published by MIT Press on Toward Replacement Parts for the Brain: Implantable Biomimetic Electronics as Neural Prostheses. Dr. Berger currently is chairing a world-wide study of brain-computer interfaces that is being funded by multiple agencies of the NSF, NIH, and DoD.

Research Abstract

The research of Dr. Berger involves the complementary use of experimental and theoretical approaches to developing biologically constrained mathematical models of mammalian neural systems. The focus of the majority of current research is the hippocampus, a neural system essential for learning and memory functions.

The goal of this research is to address three general issues: (1) the relation between cellular/molecular processes, systems-level functions, and learned behavior; (2) the extent of which the functional dynamics of neural systems are altered by activity-dependent synaptic plasticity; (3) the extent to which the essential functions of a neural system can be incorporated within a hardware representation (e.g., VLSI circuitry). Experimental studies involve the use of extracellular, intracellular, and whole-cell electrophysiological recording techniques, applied in vivo using anesthetized and chronically implanted animals, and in vitro using hippocampal slice preparations.

These and other experimental studies are used in conjunction with several different theoretical approaches to develop models of: (1) the nonlinear, input/output properties of single hippocampal neurons and circuits composed of several populations of hippocampal neurons, (2) the hierarchical relationship between synaptic and neuronal events, (3) the kinetic properties of glutamatergic receptor subtypes, and (4) adaptive properties expressed by the "hippocampal-like" neural networks.
Selected Publications

17 beta-Estradiol potentiates field excitatory postsynaptic potentials within each subfield of the hippocampus with greatest potentiation of the associational/commissural afferents of CA3.
Neuroscience, May 2006 - PubMed

Custom-designed high-density conformal planar multielectrode arrays for brain slice electrophysiology.
J Neurosci Methods, Nov 2005 - Open PDF

Restoring lost cognitive function.
IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag, Sep 2005 - Open PDF

General methodology for nonlinear modeling of neural systems with Poisson point-process inputs.
Math Biosci., 2005 - Open PDF

A Modeling Paradigm Incorporating Parametric and Non-parametric Methods
Engineering in Medicine and Biology, 2004 - Open PDF

An efficient training algorithm for dynamic synapse neural networks using trust region methods.
Neural Networks, 2003 - Open PDF

Non-parametric Interpretation of Parametric Short-term Plasticity Models
Engineering in Medicine and Biology, 2003 - Open PDF

A Hierarchical model of the population dynamics of hippocampal dentate granule cells.
Hippocampus, 2002 - Open PDF

Contribution of T-type VDCC to TEA-induced long-term synaptic modification in hippocampal CA1 and dentate gyrus.
Hippocampus, 2002 - Open PDF

Contribution of NMDA receptor channels to the expression of LTP in the hippocampal dentate gyrus.
Hippocampus, May 2002 - Open PDF

Parametric and non-parametric models of short-term plasticity.
Engineering in Medicine and Biology, 2002 - Open PDF

Differential effect of TEA on long-term synaptic modification in hippocampal CA1 and dentate gyrus in vitro.
Neurobiol Learn Mem., 2001 - Open PDF

A Biosensor for Detecting Changes in Cognitive Processing.
Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 2001 - Open PDF

Projection of the magnocellular red nucleus to the region of the accessory abducens nucleus in the rabbit.
Neurobiol Learn Mem. - PubMed