Franklin G. Berger

Dr. Franklin Berger is the Director for the Center for Colon Cancer Research at the University of South Carolina.  He earned a BA in Biology from the State University of NY at Buffalo in 1969, and a PhD in Biochemistry from Purdue University in 1974. Following a short postdoctoral stint at Cornell University, he accepted a position at Roswell Park Memorial Institute, where he began his career in cancer research.

He moved to the University of South Carolina’s Department of Biological Sciences in 1986, and is now George H. Bunch Sr. Professor there. He was Chair of that department from 1996 until 2002, during which time he founded USC’s Center for Colon Cancer Research, an interdisciplinary research center involving over 30 scientists carrying out basic research related to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of colorectal cancer. Dr. Berger’s research interests have focused on understanding and overcoming tumor cell resistance to chemotherapy.

His work has been supported by over $30 million in grants, primarily from the National Institutes of Health, and has resulted in 120 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has trained over two dozen graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory, most of whom have gone on to careers in scientific research and education. Over the years, he has taught many courses at USC, spanning the range from Freshman Biology to an advanced topics course on Cancer Biology. 

In addition to doing research, Dr. Berger is actively engaged in community outreach focused on colorectal awareness and screening, particularly within medically underserved and uninsured populations. He has led efforts to provide screening services to underserved individuals throughout South Carolina, utilizing funding from federal and state agencies as well as private foundations. He has formed partnerships with over 100 Federally-Qualified Health Centers and Free Medical Clinics, 70 Board-Certified Gastroenterologists, and numerous health care organizations, all of which have been crucial in this endeavour.

Dr. Berger’s awards include the SC Governor’s Award in Science (2005), the Distinguished Service Award from the South Carolina Gastroenterology Association (2009), a Laurel Award for Cancer Prevention from the Prevent Cancer Foundation (2012), and the Breakthrough Leadership in Research Award from the University of South Carolina (2013). He was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.