With a degree in Art from the University of Wisconsin (Madison), Breger combined her interests in art and science as a scientific illustrator at Columbia University's Earth science research institute, now known as the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She soon transferred her affection to the unique imagery of transmission electron microscopy, followed by a happy landing with the scanning electron microscope (SEM) when Lamont acquired one of the first commercially available models.
In 1982 Breger founded Columbia/Lamont's first professional SEM and X-ray microanalysis facility, which she directed for the next 22 years in support of multidisciplinary cutting-edge research by international scientists from diverse institutions. Buzz regarding her skilled imagery led Columbia University Press to solicit a book proposal; the Press' 1995 publication of her coffee-table book, Journeys in Microspace: The Art of the Scanning Electron Microscope, resulted in attention from the art world, science museums, the media and the corporate world. This continuing stream of interest serves as the engine for furthering her aesthetic public expression of the microworld. (Besides her expertise with the SEM, Breger has also led or participated in several Earth science programs on over 30 field expeditions, with a specialization in Antarctic oceanography. Some of her favorite imagery is derived from these expeditions.)
At the intersection of art, science, education and technology, Breger's award-winning images adorn the walls of numerous corporations, science centers, galleries and private homes, and are routinely featured in the media. She is especially proud to have been profiled in the 1998 BBC documentary Hidden Visions and for Journeys to have been featured in the New York Times magazine in 1995. A Fellow of the Explorers Club since 1995, Breger has also served as Consultant and Field Associate for Liberty Science Center and Council Member of the New York Hall of Science. For details of her career as a micrographic artist, please see Credit List Highlights.
On the scientific side, Breger has been working closely with Lamont geophysicist Dallas Abbott since 1999 to provide microscopic evidence for previously unknown cosmic impacts since the ending of the last ice age, particularly tsunamigenic impacts into the sea. Several of these strikes have affected global climate and thus human history. Breger, Abbott, and three close colleagues are core members of an international team of geoscientists called the Holocene Impact Working Group, each of whose members brings a complementary expertise to these studies. This work is still controversial, analogous to Walter Alvarez' long-rejected efforts to convince the impact community that the dinosaurs - as well as a majority of all other plant and animal species - were wiped out by a massive asteroid strike. For details on this research, please visit the team's website at http://tsun.sscc.ru/hiwg/hiwg.htm.
In 2004 Breger was recruited by Philadelphia's Drexel University to serve as Director of Microscopy. In 2009 she retired from academic lab management to launch Micrographic Arts, now based in Saratoga Springs NY. Besides her contributions to art and research, she devotes much of her time to bringing the visual and educational impact of the microworld out of the cloistered laboratory and making it accessible to the general public. Her microworld slideshows and oceanographic videos are intended to demystify science for an often science-intimidated public, and to encourage a delight in the many worlds of science, in K-12 schools, nature clubs, professional societies, and seniors' groups. Other notable venues include a TED event, New York's GEL Conference, several presentations to the international Explorers Club and to the private seagoing community aboard M/S The World.