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Berta Vogel was born in Munich to Karl and Johanna (née Weiss). Her father served as vice-president of the federal court of Bavaria. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Munich. She worked at the university with Prof. Karl von Frisch, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973 for his work with bees. Berta Scharrer was forced to emigrate at the onset of the Holocaust. She arrived with her husband, Ernst Scharrer, in the United States with a total of eight dollars. Despite discrimination against women scientists at the time she eventually got a professorship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a branch of Yeshiva University, in September 1955.
She remained at Einstein College until her retirement in 1995, five months before her death at age 88. Her husband had died in 1965 in a swimming accident. They had no children.
Scharrer was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1967. She earned honorary degrees from various universities, including Harvard, "as well as a nomination for a Nobel Prize for her pioneering research in brain chemicals".
- Neuropeptides and immunoregulation (1994) New York City, ISBN 0-387-57188-4
- Functional morphology of neuroendocrine systems : evolutionary and environmental aspects (1995) New York City, ISBN 0-387-18155-5
- Handbuch der mikroskopischen Anatomie des Menschen, Bd. 6., Blutgefäss- und Lymphgefässapparat: Innersekretorische Drüsen T. 5., Die Nebenniere. Neurosekretion (1954)
- The structure of the ring-gland (Corpus allatum) in normal and lethal larvae of Drosophila melanogaster (1938), Washington, D.C.
- National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) (1998), Biographical memoirs 74, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, pp. 288–307
- New York Times, February 9, 1995, pp. B1 & B5, "Roach Queen Retires"
- "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter S" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
- Tribute to Prof. Berta Scharrer on her 85th birthday (paid subscription required)
- Berta Scharrer in the German National Library catalogue (in German)