Ira Bergman, MD, PhD

  • Division Director, Neurology and Child Development Unit and Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology and Immunology
  • Ronald L. and Patricia M. Violi Endowed Chair in Child Development
  • Interim Chief, Division of Child Development, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Director, Child Neurology Residency, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Bergman has trained clinically in neurology and neuro-oncology and scientifically in cancer immunology. He is currently chief of the division of Child Neurology and Interin Chief of the Division of Child Development and program Director of the Child Neurology Residency at the University of Pittsburgh. He has extensive experience in Clinical Neurology and Medical education.

Bergman's initial research focused on clinical Neonatal Neurology and he has completed several follow-up studies of neonatal seizures, neonatal hemorrhage, hearing loss, infections and head trauma. HIs focus then switched to cancer immunotherapy and our lab developed new small animal models of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, tested antibody therapies for neuroblastoma and breast cancer, created the first, and patented, targeted replicating recombinant virus whose cell range has been severely and specifically restricted based on modifying the viral surface glycoprotein and combined viral therapy and immunotherapy to achieve consistent cures in a mouse model of mammary cancer metastases.  The lab is currently focused on testing strategies for generating and employing anti-tumor memory T-cells to prevent and treat metastases in models that highly simulate human disease, study methods to quantify the number of anti-tumor memory T-cells and study why these cells resist a wide variety of immune suppressor cells.  


Professional and Scientific Society Memberships

  • Child Neurology Society, 1978-Present
  • American Academy of Neurology, 1978-Present
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, 1981-Present
  • National Stroke Association, 1989
  • Children's Cancer Group Committee Membership, 1993
  • American Society of Neuroimaging, 1993
  • American Association of Immunology, 1998-Present
  • American Association of Cancer Research, 1998-Present
  • American Pediatric Society/Society for Pediatric Research, 2009-Present

Education & Training

  • BA, Yale University, 1970
  • MD, University of Chicago, 1974
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1998
  • Internship in Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1974-1975
  • Residency in Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital, 1975-1976
  • Residency in Neurology (Adult Service), Massachusetts General Hospital, 1976-1977
  • Residency in Neurology (Pediatric Service), Massachusetts General Hospital, 1977-1978
  • Residency in Neurology (Neuropathology), Massachusetts General Hospital, 1978-1979
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Sabbatical, Neuro-Cancer Center Oncology, 1990-1991

Selected Publications

Bergman I, Whitaker-Dowling P, Gao Y, Griffin JA, Watkins WC: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus expressing a chimeric Sindbis glycoprotein containing an Fc  antibody binding domain targets to Her2/neu over-expressing breast cancer cells. Virology, 2003; 316: 337-347. PMID: 14644615

Bergman I, Whitaker-Dowling P, Gao Y, Griffin JA: Preferential targeting of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus to breast cancer cells. Virology, 2004; 330: 24-33.  PMID: 15527831

Miederer M, McDevitt MR, Borchardt P, Bergman I, Kramer K, Cheung NV, Scheinberg DA:  Treatment of neuroblastoma meningeal carcinomatosis with intrathecal application of alpha emitting atomic nanogenerators targeting ganglioside GD2. Clinical Cancer Research, 2004; 10: 6985-92.  PMID: 15501978

Gao Y, Whitaker-Dowling P, Watkins SC, Griffin JA, Bergman I:  Rapid adaptation of a recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Virus to a targeted cell line.  J. Virol, 2006; 80: 8603-8612.  PMID: 16912309

Bergman I, Griffin JA, Gao Y, Whitaker-Dowling P: Treatment of implanted mammary tumors with recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus targeted to Her2/neu.   International Journal of Cancer, 2007; 121: 425-30.  PMID: 17354238

Gao Y, Whitaker-Dowling P, Griffin JA, Barmada MA, Bergman I:  Recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus targeted to Her2/neu combined with anti-CTLA4 antibody eliminates implanted mammary tumors.  Cancer Gene Therapy, 2009; 16: 44-52.  PMID: 18654610

Gao Y, Whitaker-Dowling P, Griffin JA, Bergman I:  Treatment with targeted Vesicular Stomatitis Virus generates therapeutic multifunctional anti-tumor memory CD4.  Cancer Gene Therapy, 2012; 19: 282-91.  PMID: 22240921

Gao Y, Whitaker-Dowling P, Barmada MA, Basse PH, Bergman I:  Viral infection of implanted meningeal tumors induces anti-tumor memory T-cells to travel to the brain and eliminate established tumors.  Neuro-Oncology 2015; 17: 536-44.  PMID: 25223975  

Gao Y, Whitaker-Dowling P, Bergman I:  Memory anti-tumor T-cells resist inhibition by immune suppressor cells.  Anticancer Research 2015: 35: 4593-97. PMID:26254347

Gao Y, Barmada MA, Bergman I:  Antitumor Memory T-Cells Become Functionally Mature from 30 to 100 days in a Mouse Model of Neoplasia.  Anticancer Research 2018:38:147-157.  PMID: 29277767

Gao Y, Bergman I:  Potent Antitumor T-Cell Memory Is Generated by Curative Viral Oncolytic Immunotherapy But Not Curative Chemotherapy.  Anticancer Research 2018:38:6621-29. 

Academic and Research Interests

  • Immunotherapy
  • Cancer
  • Virus
  • Quality Improvement