Marc A. Sommer

Image of Marc A. Sommer

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Appointments and Affiliations
  • Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Associate Professor in Neurobiology
  • Member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Investigator in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies
Contact Information:
  • Office Location: 101 Science Dr., 254 Hudson Hall Annex, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-7015
  • Email Address:
  • Web Page:

  • Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1995

Research Interests:

Dr. Marc Sommer studies neuronal circuits of the brain. Research in his laboratory involves recording from single neurons and studying the effects of inactivating or stimulating well-defined brain areas. His goals are to understand how individual areas process signals and how multiple areas interact to cause cognition and behavior. Results from the work are guiding the design of vision-based models and robots.



Awards, Honors, and Distinctions:

  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 2005, 2006
  • Fellow Award for Research Excellence, National Institutes of Health, 1999
  • Member, International Neuropsychological Symposium, 2007
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Neurosciences, National Science Foundation, 1990-1993

Courses Taught:
  • BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 517: Neuronal Control of Movement (GE, EL)
  • BME 790L: Advanced Topics with the Lab for Graduate Students in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 899: Special Readings in Biomedical Engineering
  • ME 394: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • NEUROBIO 720C: Concepts in Neuroscience II - Sensory/Motor Integration
  • NEUROBIO 793: Research in Neurobiology
  • NEUROSCI 507: Neuronal Control of Movement (GE, EL)
  • NEUROSCI 755: Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Neuroscience (IPCN) Independent Research Rotation

Representative Publications: (More Publications)
    • Mitchell, AS; Sherman, SM; Sommer, MA; Mair, RG; Vertes, RP; Chudasama, Y, Advances in understanding mechanisms of thalamic relays in cognition and behavior., The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, vol 34 no. 46 (2014), pp. 15340-15346 [10.1523/jneurosci.3289-14.2014] [abs].
    • Mueller, JK; Grigsby, EM; Prevosto, V; Petraglia, FW; Rao, H; Deng, ZD; Peterchev, AV; Sommer, MA; Egner, T; Platt, ML; Grill, WM, Simultaneous transcranial magnetic stimulation and single-neuron recording in alert non-human primates., Nature Neuroscience, vol 17 no. 8 (2014), pp. 1130-1136 [10.1038/nn.3751] [abs].
    • Ashmore, RC; Sommer, MA, Delay activity of saccade-related neurons in the caudal dentate nucleus of the macaque cerebellum, Journal of neurophysiology, vol 109 no. 8 (2013), pp. 2129-2144 [10.1152/jn.00906.2011] [abs].
    • Smith, MA; Sommer, MA, Spatial and temporal scales of neuronal correlation in visual area V4., The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, vol 33 no. 12 (2013), pp. 5422-5432 [10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4782-12.2013] [abs].
    • Mayo, JP; Sommer, MA, Neuronal correlates of visual time perception at brief timescales, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, vol 110 no. 4 (2013), pp. 1506-1511 [10.1073/pnas.1217177110] [abs].
Lectures and Invited Talks:
  • New Faculty Lecture Series,