Gerald Bergtrom
Gerald Bergtrom
Cell and Molecular Biology

B.S., CCNY 1967
Ph.D., Brandeis 1974

Postdoctoral Fellow
Univ. of Connecticut

Office: Lapham S287
Phone: 414-229-6254
FAX: 414-229-3926

Research Interests

In situ hybridization of polytene salivary gland chromosomes.
In situ hybridization of polytene salivary gland chromosomes. The ct-2β gene was the source of the hybridization probe that produced the strong hybridization signal localizing the gene to the band on chromosome arm D (arrowhead).
Research studies are in gene structure, evolution and regulation, with a particular focus on insect hemoglobins. Pedagogic studies are in the area of the efficacy of teaching technologies (clickers, ‘podcasting’, blended learning) in the sciences.

Biological Science

The hemolymph hemoglobins of Chironomus are the protein products of a very large gene family. We have been cloning chironomid globin genes and analyzing their structure, expression and evolution. Unlike the highly conserved intron bearing globin genes of vertebrates, plants and other invertebrates, most chironomid globin genes lack introns,. It is likely that these introns were acquired recently in evolution. More recent studies reveal a highly polymorphic globin gene locus. The number and arrangement of related genes clustered at the locus is highly variable from individual to individual, the result of frequent and sometimes multiple concerted recombination events. In the course of these studies, a SINE (short interspersed repetitive element) was found to have inserted into one globin gene, and subsequently found dispersed in the genome of nearly30 different chironomid species. The SINE has been mobile in each of the species examined, in some cases more than once. Thus extant SINE copies are species specific, and their evolution can be traced unambiguously.


Student response systems, or clickers, are an exciting technology that engages students in large lecture halls by allowing them to answer questions projected on a screen (e.g., in PowerPoint. There use in my classes led to a publication on clicker learning modules, or ‘learning objects’. These are effective combinations of visual presentation and student participation to convey difficult or complex concepts. We are currently looking at the efficacy of clickers and ‘podcasting’ on student learning.

Selected Publications

Bergtrom, G. (2006) Clicker Sets as Learning Objects. Int. J. Knowl. & Learn.Obj. 2:105-110.

Papusheva, E., Gruhl,M.C., Bergtrom, G., Berezikov, E., Groudieva, T., Scherbik, S.V., Blinov,

A., Martin, J. (2004). Evolution of SINEs and LINEs in the genus Chironomus (Diptera). J. Mol. Evol. 58:269-279.

Bergtrom, G. (2002) Chironomus In The Encyclopedia of Molecular Biology and Molecular

Medicine Online. (Eds. John Wiley & Sons.) Revision of INVITED REVIEW, John Wiley & Sons.

Cooley, B. and Bergtrom, G. (2001). Multiple Combinations of Alternatively Spliced Exons In Rat Tropomyosin

Gene mRNA: Evidence for 20 New Isoforms in Adult Tissues and Cultured Cells. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 390:71-77

Gruhl, M.C., Blinov, A., Scherbik, S., Karylgash, G., Bergtrom, G. (2000). CTRT1 - Insect globin gene polymorphisms: Intronic minisatellites and CTRT1 - a short interspersed repetitive element (SINE) interrupting exon I of globin gene ct-13rt in Chironomus thummi (Diptera). Gene, 251:153-163.