Born in Leiden, Gabrielle van den Berg studied Persian language and literature at the University of Leiden from 1985 to 1991, of which one year was spent at Lenin University in Dushanbe.

In 1991, Dr van den Berg graduated with her thesis on the classical Persian qasidas of the Ghaznavid poet Farrukhi Sistani.

In 1992, she obtained a research-teaching post at the University of Leiden in order to write her PhD thesis on the sung poetry of the Ismailis of Badakhshan, for which extensive fieldwork was carried out in the region.

After defending her thesis in 1997, she worked as a lecturer in Persian at the University of Leiden until October 1998 when she was appointed E G Browne Lecturer in Persian at the University of Cambridge, which is a position she will hold until October 2001.

Currently she is working for the Institute on a project entitled Living Traditions of the Ismaili World: The Case of Tajik Badakhshan.