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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Photo of Karen Berman

Karen Faith Berman, M.D.

Chief
Section on Integrative Neuroimaging
Chief
Section on Psychosis and Cognitive Studies
Chief
Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Branch

Biography

Dr. Berman is Senior Investigator and Chief of the Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Branch, the Section on Integrative Neuroimaging, and the Psychosis and Cognitive Studies Section at the National Institutes of Health, NIMH Intramural Research Program. She conducts translational investigations, using multimodal neuroimaging to bridge the gap between neurogenetic, molecular, cellular, and system-level mechanisms in neurodevelopment and in neuropsychiatric disorders. This work has been published in Nature Neuroscience, Nature Medicine, Neuron, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Journal of Neuroscience, among others. She completed residency training in psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis and at the University of California at San Diego, as well as a residency in nuclear medicine at the NIH Clinical Center. She has board certification in both Psychiatry and Nuclear Medicine. Dr. Berman has received a number of awards, including the A.E. Bennett Award for Neuropsychiatric Research and the George N. Thompson Award for outstanding service, both from the Society of Biological Psychiatry; the Brain and Behavior Research foundation Independent Investigator and Distinguished Investigator Awards; four NIH Bench to Bedside Awards; and the NIH Director’s Award. She is a past President of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping as well as of the Society of Biological Psychiatry.  Dr. Berman is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine).

Research Interests

Dr. Berman’s group uses functional neuroimaging to map brain activity and neurochemical mechanisms associated with normal higher cognitive function as well as dysfunction in neuropsychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, illnesses having genetic sources of cognitive dysfunction such as Williams syndrome and other conditions impacting cognition such as normal aging. They also study the effects of gonadal steroid hormones on brain function.

Selected Publications

Jabbi M, Kippenhan JS, Kohn P, Marenco S, Mervis CB, Morris CA, Meyer-Lindenberg A, Berman KF (2012). The Williams syndrome chromosome 7q11.23 hemideletion confers hypersocial, anxious personality coupled with altered insula structure and function. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109, E860-6. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1114774109. [Pubmed Link]

Gregory MD, Kippenhan JS, Eisenberg DP, Kohn PD, Dickinson D, Mattay VS, Chen Q, Weinberger DR, Saad ZS, Berman KF (2017). Neanderthal-Derived Genetic Variation Shapes Modern Human Cranium and Brain. Sci Rep 7, 6308. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-06587-0. [Pubmed Link]

Meyer-Lindenberg A, Hariri AR, Munoz KE, Mervis CB, Mattay VS, Morris CA, Berman KF (2005). Neural correlates of genetically abnormal social cognition in Williams syndrome. Nat Neurosci 8, 991-3. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1494. [Pubmed Link]

Marenco S, Meyer C, Kuo S, van der Veen JW, Shen J, DeJong K, Barnett AS, Apud JA, Dickinson D, Weinberger DR, Berman KF (2016). Prefrontal GABA Levels Measured With Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Patients With Psychosis and Unaffected Siblings. Am J Psychiatry 173, 527-34. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15020190. [Pubmed Link]

Meyer-Lindenberg A, Miletich RS, Kohn PD, Esposito G, Carson RE, Quarantelli M, Weinberger DR, Berman KF (2002). Reduced prefrontal activity predicts exaggerated striatal dopaminergic function in schizophrenia. Nat Neurosci 5, 267-71. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn804. [Pubmed Link]


Magnuson Clinical Center, Room 3C103A, MSC 1365
BETHESDA, MD 20814
Phone: +1 301 496 7603
Fax: +1 301 480 7795

bermank@mail.nih.gov