- NIH Biosketch
- One-page Biography
Bonnie Berger is the Simons Professor of Mathematics at MIT, holds a joint appointment in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and serves as head of the Computation and Biology group at MIT's Computer Science and AI Lab. After beginning her career working in algorithms at MIT, she was one of the pioneer researchers in the area of computational molecular biology and, together with the many students she has mentored, has been instrumental in defining the field. She continues to lead efforts to design algorithms to gain biological insights from recent advances in automated data collection and the subsequent large data sets drawn from them. Professor Berger has won numerous awards including a National Science Foundation Career Award and the Biophysical Society's Dayhoff Award for research. In 1999 Professor Berger was named one of Technology Review Magazine's inaugural TR100 as a top young innovator of the twenty-first century, in 2004, was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, and in 2010, received the RECOMB Test of Time Award. She was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, received the Margaret Pittman Director's Award at the NIH, was elected as Fellow of both the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) and American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and received an Honorary Doctorate from EPFL. She currently serves as Vice President of the ISCB and Head of the steering committee for RECOMB. In addition, Professor Berger is an Associate Member of the Broad Institute, Faculty member of Harvard/MIT Health Science & Technology, and Affiliated Faculty of Harvard Medical School.
As a professor at MIT, Professor Berger has co-authored over 90 scholarly research articles and has been invited to present at conferences in fields ranging from randomized algorithms and graph theory to computational molecular biology. Professor Berger has won numerous awards and honors including a National Science Foundation career award, a Radcliffe Bunting Institute Science Scholarship, and the Biophysical Society's Dayoff Award for research among others. In 1999, she was selected for Technology Review's inaugural TR100 - 100 young innovators who will shape the future of technology. In 2003, she was elected as a Fellow of the ACM. In 2010, she received the RECOMB Test of Time Award and in 2011, she was recognized by the National Institutes of Health and recieved the NIH Margaret Pittman Director's Award. In 2012, she was elected as a new member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected as a Fellow of International Society for Computational Biology. Recently, she has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
Professor Berger received her A.B. in computer science magna cum laude from Brandeis University, and was a recipient of the Esther Pine Memorial Prize for academic achievement. She subsequently entered graduate school in computer science at MIT, where she received both her S.M. and Ph.D. in computer science while studying randomized algorithms under the supervision of Professor Silvio Micali. Professor Berger's Ph.D. thesis won the George M. Sprowles Prize for best research contribution to computer science.
After graduating, Professor Berger worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the MIT mathematics department under the sponsorship of Professor Daniel Kleitman as an NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow, while simultaneously continuing a part-time position as a mathematical consultant at AT&T Bell Laboratories to researchers David Johnson and Peter Shor.
Upon completing postdoctoral work, Professor Berger joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor of applied mathematics holding a joint appointment at the Laboratory for Computer Science, now known as the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Professor Berger became the head of the computation and biology group at MIT in 1994. In 1999, Professor Berger was granted tenure. In 2002, she was promoted to full professor.
As a professor at MIT, Professor Berger has advised almost 20 doctoral theses and currently leads a group consisting of ten graduate students and several undergraduate UROPs. Professor Berger's advisees have graduated to significant achievements in many and diverse scientific disciplines. She is a member of the Graduate, MEMP Curriculum, and Governance Committees for the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology as well as the nominating committee of the ACM. In addition to her academic responsibilities, Professor Berger is involved in numerous committees and public service activities at MIT and within the larger scientific community.
Professor Berger's research has been generously supported by grants from the Merck Company, the United States Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Charles E. Reed Faculty Initiative Fund, Arthur D. Little Corporation, and the State Street Bank.
Professor Berger is married and has two children.