Berg’s research focuses on the relationships between the structures and functions of biological molecules, investigating biomolecule interaction inside cells through experimental and computational methods. He has made major contributions to understanding how zinc-containing proteins bind to DNA or RNA and regulate gene activity. His work has led to the design of metal-containing proteins that control the activity of specific genes, which are valuable tools for basic research on gene function; such proteins could one day have medical applications in regulating genes involved in diseases.
Prior to coming to Pitt, Berg served as director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health. In 2016, he was named editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals.