Department: Clinical Science and Services

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Musculoskeletal Biology

Clinical Groups: Small Animal Neurology

Research Centres: Clinical Investigation Centre

Dr. Dr. Ben A. Berk is PhD student in Veterinary Neurology studying the effects of dietary supplements on seizure characteristics, severity and behavioral comorbidities of dogs with refractory idiopathic epilepsy.

" Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



In 2015, Dr. Benjamin Andreas Berk graduated as a veterinary surgeon from the University of Leipzig in Germany. From 2008 to 2015 he has studied Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Biology (BSc '12, MSc '14 in Neurosciences and Behaviour) in a dual-degree program at the University of Heidelberg, University of Leipzig, University of Cambridge and at the Harvard Medical School. Additionally, from 2012 to 2015 Dr. Berk conducted research for the German doctoral degree "" on neuro- and glial cell physiology at the Paul-Flechsig Institute for Brain Research. From 2015 onwards, he cooperated with human neurologists and oncologists at the University Clinic in Leipzig for his high resolution MRI study on white matter lessions (cerebral small vessel disease) and its role in brain metastasis of different tumor entities; for this he was awarded with an in 2017. At an early stage of his academic career he focussed in research especially on neurosciences (cellular neurobiology, neuroregeneration, neurobiophysics) and was mostly interested in the clinical match Veterinary Neurology. 

In July 2016, he moved to London to start his clinical PhD in Veterinary Neurology at the RVC entiteld "Investigating the effects of ketogenic medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) supplement on canine epilepsy" under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Holger Volk




  • July 2016 - Present: Clinical PhD Student, Clinical Investigator, Multicentric Trial, Royal Veterinary College (RVC)
    • Investigating the effects of ketogenic medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) supplement on canine epilepsy.
    • Collaborating Clinical Investigation Centres: University of Bern, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Tierarztpraxis Bathen-Nöthen, University of Helsiniki, Pride Veterinary Centre Derby
  • February 2015 - November 2016: Veterinary Surgeon, Assistant, Tierklinik am Sandpfad.
    • Intern in Small Animal Surgery, Internal and Ermergency Medicine 


Scholarship, Funding, Awards:

  • DGN, German Society for Human Neurology, Travel/ Congress Grant, 2018
  • DAAD Scholarship, Congress, ECVN Veterinary Neurology, 2017
  • Hans-Böckler-Foundation, Travel Grant,32nd International Congress on Epilepsy in Barcelona
  • Merit-based doctoral scholarship, Hans-Böckler-Foundation, since 2015
  • Ungemach-Award for best dissertation of the year 2015 in basic veterinary sciences, 2016
  • Science Slam Winner, 2013/2014
  • Merit-based study scholarship, Hans-Böckler-Foundation, 2008-2015
  • Literary scholarship,, since 2008

PhD Project:


Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder in first opinion practice for domestic dogs. Diet is increasingly recognised as having an impact upon the seizure activity and behaviour of dogs with epilepsy. We are interested in the effects of ketogenic oil dietary supplements on your dog’s epilepsy. All study dogs will be fed for 3 months with either the placebo dietary supplement or the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) rich dietary supplement alongside their normal diet, followed by again 3 months with the other supplement alongside their normal diet. After each 3 months’ period we will see your dog for clinical check-up, for collection of blood, urine and faeces samples, together with data on current response, and severity of side-effects. This will be used for a future study to investigate the change in metabolic profile in dog’s receiving our ketogenic supplement.  If you have any queries regarding the questions asked or details of the trial, please contact Dr Benjamin-Andreas Berk (

NOTE: Trial was completed in February 2018. No more applications will be accepted. Please have a look onto our other research projects, you are welcome to apply or contact us regarding contribution to research in Canine Epilepsy. 

UPDATE: Since February 2018, Data Analysis.


Previous Research Experience

  • University of Leipzig, Prof. Dr. Thomas Magin, BSc Thesis, Cellular Biology, 2012 - Topic: Effect of NSAID on adipogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells.
  • University of Cambridge, Dr. Kristian Franze, "Fundamentals of Veterinary Sciences" Research Summer School, Neurobiophysics, 2012, Topic: Mechanotaxis of astroglial cells.
  • Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, Prof. Dr. Thomas Stossel, MSc Thesis, Neurobiophysics, Cellular and Molecular Biology, 2013-2014, Topic: Regulation of RhoGDI2-binding to filamin A by phosphorylation and mechanical force.
  • University of Leipzig, Prof. Dr. Johannes Seeger, Doctoral Thesis Dr. med. vet., Neurophysiology, Glial Pathophysiology, 2012-2015, Topic: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor-induced osmoregulation of mueller glial cells in rats retina.
  • University of Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. G. E. Pollerberg, 2015-2016, Topic: Influences of cell adhesion molecules on axon regeneration of dorsal root ganglion neurons.
  • University of Leipzig/ Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. R.-D. Kortmann, Doctoral Thesis Dr. MD, Neurooncology, Neurology, 2014-2016, 3D MRI White matter study on cerebral microvessel disease


(12) BA Berk, HA Volk: Rock, Rattle, Shake – Von Bewegungsstörungen bis Krampfanfällen. KLEINTIERMEDIZIN 2-2018,

(11) Berk BA, Böttcher A, Nagel S, Günter KP: Rabbits: unilateral perineal-urinary bladder hernia in a high-grade cachectic intact female domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Veterinary Record Case Reports 2017, 5(2).

(10) Nagel S*, Berk BA*, Kortmann R-D, Hoffmann K-T, Seidel C: Can vascular risk factors influence number and size of cerebral metastases? A 3D-MRI study in patients with different tumor entities. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery 2018, 165:55-59.


(8) White matter lesions reduce number of brain metastases in different cancers: a high-resolution MRI study. Berk BA, Nagel S, Hering K, Paschke S, Hoffmann KT, Kortmann RD, Gaudino C, Seidel C. J Neurooncol. 2016 Aug 17. [Epub ahead of print] DOI: 10.1007/s11060-016-2235-5

(7) Nagel S, Berk BA: Case Report: Feline Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Sclerosing Fibroplasia (FGESF) In: Der Praktische Tierarzt, Schlütersche Verlag (Der praktische Tierarzt 97, Heft 3 (2016)) 

(6) Berk BA, Nagel S, Richter M, Seeger J: Clinical relevance of retinal edema in diverse retinopathies, In: Der Praktische Tierarzt, Schlütersche Verlag (Der praktische Tierarzt 97, Heft 1 (2016)) 

(5) Ischemic regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor-mediated cell volume and TrkB expression in glial (Müller) and bipolar cells of the rat    retina. Vogler S, Hollborn M, Berk BA, Pannicke T, Seeger J, Wiedemann P, Reichenbach A, Bringmann A. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2016 Mar;254(3):497-503. doi: 10.1007/s00417-015-3250-5. Epub 2016 Jan 7.

(4) An adventitious interaction of filamin A with RhoGDI2(Tyr153Glu). Song M, He Q, Berk BA, Hartwig JH, Stossel TP, Nakamura F. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 Jan 15;469(3):659-64. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.12.044. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

(3) Brain-derived neurotrophic factor inhibits osmotic swelling of rat retinal glial (Müller) and bipolar cells by activation of basic fibroblast growth factor signaling. Berk BA, Vogler S, Pannicke T, Kuhrt H, Garcia TB, Wiedemann P, Reichenbach A, Seeger J, Bringmann A. Neuroscience. 2015 Jun 4;295:175-86. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.03.037. Epub 2015 Mar 24.

(2) Nerve growth factor inhibits osmotic swelling of rat retinal glial (Müller) and bipolar cells by inducing glial cytokine release. Garcia TB, Pannicke T, Vogler S, Berk BA, Grosche A, Wiedemann P, Seeger J, Reichenbach A, Herculano AM, Bringmann A. J Neurochem. 2014 Nov;131(3):303-13. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12822. Epub 2014 Aug 8.

(1) BA Berk, A Bringmann, A Reichenbach, J Seeger: Basic fibroblastic growth factor inhibits osmotic swelling of rat retinal glial (müller) cell.  Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia, 2014


Ischemic regulation of BDNF-mediated cell volume regulation and TrkB expression in retinal glial (Müller) and bipolar cells of the rat retina; DOG Tagung 2015; Andreas Bringmann, Stefanie Vogler, Margrit Hollborn, Benjamin-Andreas Berk, Thomas Pannicke, Johannes Seeger, Peter Wiedemann, Andreas Reichenbach

Basic fibroblastic growth factor inhibits osmotic swelling of rat Müller glial; Young Generation of Veterinary Anatomists (YGVA) Meeting, 2014; Veterinärmedizinische Fakultät, Universität Leipzig: Benjamin-Andreas Berk;; Andreas Bringmann;; Andreas Reichenbach, Johannes Seeger

Nerve growth factor inhibits osmotic swelling of rat Müller glial and bipolar cells by inducing glial cytokine release;; ProRetina Tagung 2014, Andreas Bringmann, Tarcyane Barata Garcia, Thomas Pannicke, Antje Grosche, Benjamin-Andreas Berk, Peter Wiedemann, Andreas Reichenbach

Osmoregulative Funktion von Wachstumsfaktoren auf Müllerzellen der Ratte;; Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, 2014;; Veterinärmedizinische Fakultät, Universität Leipzig: Benjamin-Andreas Berk; Andreas Bringmann; Andreas Reichenbach, Johannes Seeger 

Osmoregulation Of Rat Retinal Glial (Müller) Cells;; Young Generation of Veterinary Anatomists (YGVA) Meeting, 2013;; Veterinärmedizinische Fakultät, Universität Leipzig: Benjamin-Andreas Berk; Andreas Bringmann; Andreas Reichenbach, Johannes Seeger 

Astrozyten mögen‘s härter; FameLab 2013

Initial teaching experience gained Dr. Berk as self-employed lecturer in Biology at diverse private higher education centres in Germany. Furthermore, he has given courses on school leaving examination (Abitur) in Biology and Chemistry at some private institutions (f.e. As intern at the Tierklinik am Sandpfad, he trained final year students and prepared them for final boards in Small Animal Medicine. At the University of Heidelberg, he supervised bachelor and master students on their final research projects in cellular and molecular neurobiology.

Being a veterinary surgeon was Dr. Berk's longheld dream. From childhood on, he used every spare time to asisst, learn and gain experience in Veterinary Medicine at the small animal private practise in Mannheim-Strassenheim. During his studies, Dr. Berk formed wide expertise by stay abroads in different countries. In 2012, for example, he was clincial extern at the VCA Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialist Clinic in Lower Manhattan. He rotated through different disicplinces and gained insight into newest techniques in Small Animal Medicine in the USA. His final year training was splitted into an intramural part at Small Animal Clinic at the University of Leipzig and extramural part at the Freie Universität Berlin. After graduation he started specialty training for 2 years on Small Animal Surgery and Medicine at the Tierklinik am Sandpfad in Wiesloch. Up to today, he stayed part of the team at the small animal practice in Mannheim-Strassenheim as "far" consultant in soft tissue surgery and neurology, focussing on animal epilepsy. 

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