Faculty & Staff

Dr. Brett Berke
Associate Professor of Biology (2015)

Spring 2024 (Zoom and F2F; https://truman-edu.zoom.us/j/3226642392)

M 10:30-11:30

T 12:30-1:30

W 1:30-2:30

Th 1:30-2:30

Fri 2:30-3:30

Appointments can also be scheduled as requested

Personal Pronouns: he/him/his

B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaigne - 1991-1996

Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Iowa - 1996-2004

Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Yale University - 2004-2015


During Dr. Berke's undergraduate education for electrical engineering, he realized his love of neurobiology and switched fields to study neurobiology. He eventually decided to use Drosophila (fruit fly) to study the genetic determinants of axon guidance and Ca-dependent neuronal growth (during his PhD) and the roles of retrograde signaling at synapses (during is post-doc). 

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 molecules at the well-studied larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ),

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

3. we are testing hypotheses to explain why only subsets of neurons die in fly models of neurodegenerative disease. 

Recent publications from the Berke lab include:

Galbraith, A.Leone, S.Stuart, K.Emery, J.Renkemeyer, M.K.Pritchett, N.Galbraith, L.Stuckmeyer, H.; Berke, B. (2021). Reducing the expression of the Numb adaptor protein in neurons increases the searching behavior of Drosophila larvae. microPublication Biology. 10.17912/micropub.biology.000426.

Thies and B. Berke. (2020) Roles of the Fem-1 gene in Drosophila melanogaster adult courtship and neuromuscular junction development. (2020). Impulse. ISSN: 1934-3361.

E.M. McNeill, C. Thompson, B. Berke, V.T. Chou, J. Rusch, A. Duckworth, J. DeProto, A. Taylor, J. Gates, M. Peifer, H.

Keshishian, and D. Van Vactor. (2020) Drosophila Enabled Promotes Synapse Morphogenesis and Regulates Active Zone Form and Function. Neural Development, 15:4.

B. Berke, L. Le, and H. Keshishian. (2020) Target-Dependent Retrograde Signaling Mediates Synaptic Plasticity at the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction. Develop. Neurobiol. 77(11-12):895-912.

Courses that Dr. Berke has taught at Truman include:

Introductory Biology I (Biol 107)

Freshman Seminar (Biol 145)

Introduction to Writing About Biology (Biol 210)

Writing About Biology (Biol 349)

Animal Physiology (Biol 315)

Principles of Human Physiology (Biol 322)

Neurobiology (Biol 333)

Molecular Pharmacology (Biol 334)

Independent Study on PTSD (Biol 444)

Revieweing Scientific Literature (Biol 444)

Research for credit (441-443)

Advanced Neurobiology (Bio 518/518G)

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

Scientific Writing (Biol 601G)