Sarah B. Berman, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology and Clinical & Translational Science


  • Vice Chair, Faculty Affairs

Biographical Sketch

Sarah Berman, MD PhD, is Associate Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Departments of Neurology and Clinical & Translational Science. She received her undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, MD and PhD (Neuroscience) degrees from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and residency and fellowship training at Johns Hopkins University, before becoming faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. She is an Associate Director of the Pitt Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) Clinical Core as well as a Principal Investigator in the Pittsburgh Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases. Her clinical expertise focuses on caring for those with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and other neurodegenerative disorders. In addition, her scientific research focuses on the role of mitochondrial dysfunction as an underlying cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as LBD and PD, initially studying early changes in mitochondrial dynamics and function in models of neurodegeneration, with more recent research focused on human brain mitochondrial imaging. She is involved in overseeing several clinical research studies as well, including as site Principal Investigator for the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network studies and site co-Principal Investigator for the Dementia with Lewy Bodies Consortium.  

Education & Training

  • Post Doc, Johns Hopkins University. Molecular Microbiology & Immunology; Neurology
  • Resident, Johns Hopkins University, Neurology
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Neuroscience
  • MD, University of Pittsburgh

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests

Research: Neurodegeneration, Role of mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases

Clinical: Parkinson’s disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, other Movement Disorders,

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias; Deep Brain Stimulation

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Professional Organization Membership

  • Medical Advisory Board, Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • The Movement Disorders Society
  • Parkinson Study Group

Honors & Awards

  • Departmental Honors, Program in Human Biology, Stanford University 
  • Andrew Mellon Fellowship Awards, University of Pittsburgh
  • Harold L. Mitchell Prize for Neurology, University of Pittsburgh Medical School
  • Jay Slotkin Award for Excellence in Research, Johns Hopkins University Department of Neurology
  • Selected for Best Doctors of America, Castle Connelly Regional Top Doctors and Exceptional Women in Medicine

Selected Publications

Dukes AA, Bai Q, Van Laar VS, Zhou Y, Ilin V, David CN, Agim ZS, Bonkowsky JL, Cannon JR, Watkins SC, Croix CM, Burton EA, Berman SBLive imaging of mitochondrial dynamics in CNS dopaminergic neurons in vivo demonstrates early reversal of mitochondrial transport following MPP(+) exposure. Neurobiol Dis. 2016 Nov;95:238-49. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2016.07.020. Epub 2016 Jul 22. PMID: 27452482; PMCID: PMC5010936.

Van Laar VS, Arnold B, Howlett EH, Calderon MJ, St Croix CM, Greenamyre JT, Sanders LH, Berman SBEvidence for Compartmentalized Axonal Mitochondrial Biogenesis: Mitochondrial DNA Replication Increases in Distal Axons As an Early Response to Parkinson's Disease-Relevant Stress. J Neurosci. 2018 Aug 22;38(34):7505-7515. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0541-18.2018. Epub 2018 Jul 20. PMID: 30030401; PMCID: PMC6104298.

Berman SB, Miller-Patterson C. PD and DLB: Brain imaging in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2019;165:167-185. doi: 10.1016/bs.pmbts.2019.07.009. Epub 2019 Aug 7. PMID: 31481162.

Barthélemy NR, Li Y, Joseph-Mathurin N, Gordon BA, Hassenstab J, Benzinger TLS, Buckles V, Fagan AM, Perrin RJ, Goate AM, Morris JC, Karch CM, Xiong C, Allegri R, Mendez PC, Berman SB, Ikeuchi T, Mori H, Shimada H, Shoji M, Suzuki K, Noble J, Farlow M, Chhatwal J, Graff-Radford NR, Salloway S, Schofield PR, Masters CL, Martins RN, O'Connor A, Fox NC, Levin J, Jucker M, Gabelle A, Lehmann S, Sato C, Bateman RJ, McDade E; Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network. A soluble phosphorylated tau signature links tau, amyloid and the evolution of stages of dominantly inherited Alzheimer's disease. Nat Med. 2020 Mar;26(3):398-407. doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0781-z. Epub 2020 Mar 11. PMID: 32161412; PMCID: PMC7309367