Faculty & Staff

Dr. Brett Berke
Assistant Professor of Biology

Spring 2020:

Mon 9-12, Wed 9-12, Thurs 9-10, and Fri 12-3

Zoom office hours 11-12 MW

Appointments as requested

B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaigne - 1996

Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Iowa - 2004

Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Yale University - 2015


Courses taught:

Introductory Biology I (Biol 107)

Freshman Seminar (Biol 145)

Physiology (Biol 315)

Neurobiology (Biol 518/518G)

Graduate Seminar (Biol 606/7G, 616/617G)

Scientific Writing (Biol 601G)

Independent Study on PTSD (Biol 444)


Research in the Berke Lab uses the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the genetic mechanisms underlying several important aspects of neurobiology: 

1. We are interested in the emerging roles for retrograde signaling at the well-studied larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ),

2. we are also examining previously uncharacterized roles for planar polarity proteins during presynaptic motoneuron development,

3. we are carrying out a secondary genetic screen to identify novel molecules that influence neuronal excitability (action potential firing), 

 4. we are using simple locomotion by Drosophila larvae to examine the genetic basis for decision making (higher level regulation of motor behavior), and

5. we are testing an interesting hypothesis to explain why only subsets of neurons die in fly models of neurodegenerative disease.