Dean of Arts and Sciences
Berger-Sweeney was appointed Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
as of August 23, 2010. She comes to us from Wellesley College, where
she was Associate Dean of the College and Allene Lummis Russell
Professor in Neuroscience. She has been on the faculty at Wellesley
since 1991 and was named Associate Dean in 2004.
As Associate Dean, Professor Berger-Sweeney brought an inclusive,
collaborative style to her oversight and support of 20 academic
departments and programs. She sat on multiple committees, including
Presidential Advisory, Budget, Faculty Appointments, and Curriculum
and Instruction. During her tenure as Associate Dean, she sought to
improve faculty recruitment, retention, and professional development
and was responsible for strategic planning initiatives relating to
faculty diversity, interdisciplinary programs, and non-tenure-track
faculty. From 2004 to 2006, she also served as director of the
Neurosciences Program at Wellesley and helped spearhead the creation
of that interdisciplinary major.
Professor Berger-Sweeney has demonstrated a strong commitment to
critical issues such as need-blind admissions and increased
financial aid. Her passion for teaching and the creation of new
knowledge is reflected by the impressive credentials of the students
and fellows she has guided through a thesis or independent study and
by the accomplishments of her mentees from the Minority Mentoring
Program at Wellesley, in which she has been active since 1998.
Wellesley undergraduates appear as co-authors on a number of
Professor Berger-Sweeney's scholarly publications. From 1995 to
2006, she directed the Society for Neuroscience's Minority
Neuroscience Fellowship Program, a federally funded training grant
to provide pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships to
underrepresented minorities engaging in neuroscience research.
A 1979 graduate of Wellesley, Professor Berger-Sweeney received an
M.P.H. in environmental health sciences from the University of
California, Berkeley, in 1981, and a Ph.D. in neurotoxicology from
the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1989. Following her
graduate training, she worked for two years at the Institut National
de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), a
multidisciplinary public health research institution in France.
Professor Berger-Sweeney's research focuses on the neurobiology of
learning and memory. Her research includes behavioral, neurochemical,
and anatomical studies, all aimed at understanding mechanisms
involved in normal memory and cognitive processes and how these
processes malfunction in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative
disorders, such as Rett syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. Her work
has been recognized by a National Science Foundation Young
Investigator award, among other honors. She holds, with Dr. Rachael
Neve, a patent for a model for studying Alzheimer's disease-like
neuropathology and associated cognitive impairment.
She is a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, and has
served on numerous national and professional boards and committees.
She has been a member of the editorial board of Behavioral
Neuroscience, the Behavioral Neuroscience Review Panel of the
National Science Foundation, and an NIH Study Section panel. Widely
acknowledged for her efforts to increase diversity in the biological
sciences, she received a Lifetime Mentoring Achievement Award from
the Society for Neuroscience in 2006. In May of this year, the
HistoryMakers organization, a national nonprofit research and
educational institution, honored her as one of the nation's leading
African-American scientists. She also just completed a term as
Treasurer for the Society for Neuroscience.