Marlene Oscar Berman, Ph.D.


Phone: 617-638-4803
Fax: 617-638-4806
Location: L-815, BUSM

Lab: Laboratory of Neuropsychology

CV: Marlene Oscar Berman, PhD– CV

Recipient of: Visiting Professorship, the University Melbourne, Australia, 2001

Tribute to Lifetime Achievement, Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society, 2004

NIH Senior Scientist Research and Mentorship Award, 2007 – 2015

Henri Begleiter Excellence in Research Award, Research Society on Alcoholism, 2011

Distinguished Career Award, International Neuropsychological Society, 2012

Professor, Ph.D. Program in Behavioral Neuroscience, BUSM, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Anatomy & Neurobiology, BUSM

Research Scientist, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System

My research represents a continuation of ongoing projects aimed at understanding the full extent of neuropsychological deficits and intact skills in individuals with brain damage from a variety of etiologies. My colleagues and I use sensitive behavioral paradigms in combination with structural and functional brain imaging technologies. We have made major contributions in multiple distinct areas. Our work probably is best known for characterizing the brain mechanisms underlying perceptual, emotional, and cognitive impairments associated with chronic alcoholism, including alcoholics with and without clinical signs of Korsakoff’s syndrome (severe amnesia for events occurring since the onset of extensive brain damage). We have published approximately 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts, invited reviews, and book chapters. See for a brief overview of Dr. Berman’s current research.


Recent Publications

Blum, K., Femino, J., Teitelbauum, S., Giordano, J., Oscar-Berman, M. & Gold, M. (2013). Neuroscience of Addiction Recovery: Demystification of the Twelve-Step Program and Fellowship. New York: Springer Books in Neuroscience (in press).

Blum, K., Oscar-Berman, M., Stuller, E., Miller, D., Giordano, J., Morse, S., McCormick, L., Downs, W., Waite, R.L., Barh, D., Neal, D., Braverman, E.R., Lohmann, R., Borsten, J., Hauser, M., Han, D., Liu, Y., Helman, M., & Simpatico, T. (2013). Neurogenetics and nutrigenomics of neuro-nutrient therapy for Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS): Clinical ramifications as a function of molecular neurobiological mechanisms. Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy, 3(5), 1-16 (open access)

Ruiz, S.M., Oscar-Berman, M., Sawyer, K.S., Valmas, M., Urban, T., & Harris, G.J.  (2013).  Drinking history associations with regional white matter volumes in alcoholic men and women.  Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37(1), 110-122.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01862.x

Blum, K., Oscar-Berman, M., Giordano, J., Downs, B.W., Simpatico, T., Han, D. & Femino, J. (2012). Neurogenetic impairments of brain reward circuitry links to Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS): Potential nutrigenomic induced dopaminergic activation. Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy, 3(4), 100e115

Blum, K., Giordano, J., Oscar-Berman, M., Bowirrat, A., Simpatico, T., & Barh, D. (2012). Diagnosis and healing in veterans suspected of suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) using reward gene testing and reward circuitry natural dopaminergic activation. Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy, 3(3), 1000116

Archer, T,. Oscar-Berman, M,. & Blum, K.  (2012).  Neurogenetics and epigenetics in impulsive behavior: Impact on reward circuitry.  Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy, 3(3).  DOI:10.4172/2157-7412.1000115

Blum, K., Oscar-Berman, M., Bowirrat, A., Giordano, J., Madigan, M., Braverman, E.R., Barh, D., Hauser, M., Borsten, J., & Simpatico, T. (2012).  Neuropsychiatric Genetics of Happiness, Friendships, and Politics: Hypothesizing Homophily (“Birds of a Feather Flock Together”) as a Function of Reward Gene Polymorphisms.  Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy, 3(2).  DOI:10.4172/2157-7412.1000115

Oscar-Berman, M. (2012). Function and dysfunction of prefrontal brain circuitry in alcholoic Korsakoff’s syndrome.  Neuropsychology Review, 22(2), 154-169.  DOI 10.1007/s11065-012-9198-x

Blum, K., Gardner, E., Oscar-Berman, M., & Gold, M. (2012). “Liking” and “wanting” linked to reward deficiency syndrome (RDS): Hypothesizing differential responsivity in brain reward circuitry. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 18(1), 113-118.

Bowirrat, A.B., Chen, T.J.H., Oscar-Berman, M., Madigan, M., Chen, A.L.H., Bailey, J.A., Braverman, E.R., Kerner, M., Giordano, J., Morse, S., Downs, B.W., Waite, R.L., Knopf, J.H., Zaher, A.A., & Blum, K. (2012). Neuropsychopharmacology and neurogenetic aspects of executive functioning: Should reward gene polymorphisms constitute a diagnostic tool to identify individuals at risk for impaired judgment? Molecular Neurobiology (in press).

Blum, K., Chen, T.J.H., Bailey, J.A., Bowirrat, A., Femino, J., Chen, A.L.C., Simpatico, T., Morse, S., Giordano, J., Damle, U., Kerner, M., Braverman, E.R., Fornari, F., Downs, B.W., Rector, C., Barh, D., & Oscar-Berman, M. (2011). Can the chronic administration of the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone block dopaminergic activity causing anti-reward and relapse potential? Molecular Neurobiology, 44(3), 250-268. (Epub September 24).

Blum, K., Bailey, J., Gonzalez, A.M., Oscar-Berman, M., Liu, Y. Giordano, J., Braverman, E., & Gold. M. (2011). Neuro-genetics of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) as the root cause of “addiction Transfer”: A new phenomenon common after bariatric surgery. Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy, S2:001.  (2011),

Archer, T., Oscar-Berman, M., & Blum, K. (2011). Epigenetics in developmental disorder: ADHD and endophenotypes. Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy, 2:104 (1-17).

Oscar-Berman, M. & Song, J. (2011). Brain volumetric measures in alcoholics: A comparison of two segmentation methods. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 7, 65-75.

Oscar-Berman, M. (2010). Comparative neuropsychology. In: The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology, I. B. Weiner & W.E. Craighead, Eds. NY: Wiley, pp. 365-366.

Oscar-Berman, M., Valmas, M.M., Sawyer, K.S., Kirkley, S.M., Gansler, D.A., Merritt, D., & Couture, A. (2009). Frontal brain dysfunction in alcoholism with and without Antisocial Personality Disorder. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 5(5), 309-326.

Marinkovic, K., Oscar-Berman, M., Urban, T., O’Reilly, C.E., Howard, J.A., Sawyer, K., & Harris, G.J. (2009). Alcoholism and dampened temporal limbic activation to emotional faces. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 33(11), 1880-1892.

Harris, G.J., Jaffin, S.K., Hodge, S.M., Kennedy, D.N., Caviness, V.S., Marinkovic, K., Papadimitriou, G.M., Makris, N., & Oscar-Berman, M. (2008). Frontal white matter and cingulum diffusion tensor imaging deficits in alcoholism. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 32(6), 1001-1013.

Makris, N., Oscar-Berman, M., Jaffin, S.K., Hodge, S.M., Kennedy, D.N., Caviness, V.S., Marinkovic, K., Breiter, H.C., Gasic, G.P., & Harris, G.J. (2008). Decreased volume of the brain reward system in alcoholism. Biological Psychiatry, 64(3), 192-202.

Bardenhagen, F.J., Oscar-Berman, M., & Bowden, S.C. (2007). Rule knowledge aids performance on spatial and object alternation tasks by alcoholic patients with and without Korsakoff’s amnesia. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 3(6), 907-918.

Oscar-Berman, M. & Marinkovic, K. (2007). Alcohol: Effects on neurobehavioral functions and the brain. Neuropsychology Review, 17, 239-257.


Clark, U.S., Oscar-Berman, M. Shagrin, B., & Pencina, M. (2007). Alcoholism and judgments of affective stimuli. Neuropsychology, 21(3), 346-362.