Marc A Sommer

Marc A. Sommer

W. H. Gardner, Jr. Associate Professor

We study circuits for cognition. Using a combination of neurophysiology and biomedical engineering, we focus on the interaction between brain areas during visual perception, decision-making, and motor planning. Specific projects include the role of frontal cortex in metacognition, the role of cerebellar-frontal circuits in action timing, the neural basis of "good enough" decision-making (satisficing), and the neural mechanisms of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Appointments and Affiliations

  • W. H. Gardner, Jr. Associate Professor
  • Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Associate Professor in Neurobiology
  • Member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Investigator in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 1427 Ciemas, Box 90281, 101 Science Dr., Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-7015
  • Email Address: marc.sommer@duke.edu
  • Websites:

Education

  • 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.

Specialties

Neuroengineering

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Bass Society of Fellows. Duke University. 2017
  • Capers and Mario McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising. Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University. 2017
  • Sloan Research Fellowship-Neuroscience. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 2005

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 792: Continuation of Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 899: Special Readings in Biomedical Engineering
  • COMPSCI 391: Independent Study
  • ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • NEUROBIO 720C: Concepts in Neuroscience II - Sensory/Motor Integration
  • NEUROBIO 793: Research in Neurobiology
  • NEUROSCI 493: Research Independent Study 1
  • NEUROSCI 494: Research Independent Study 2
  • NEUROSCI 507: Neuronal Control of Movement (GE, EL)
  • NEUROSCI 755: Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Neuroscience (IPCN) Independent Research Rotation

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Rao, H; Khanna, R; Zielinski, D; Lu, Y; Clements, J; Potter, N; Sommer, MA; Kopper, R; Appelbaum, L, Sensorimotor learning during a marksmanship task in immersive virtual reality, Frontiers in Psychology, vol In Press (2018) [abs].
  • Abzug, ZM; Sommer, MA, Serial decision-making in monkeys during an oculomotor task, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, vol 44 no. 1 (2018), pp. 95-102 [10.1037/xan0000154] [abs].
  • Caruso, VC; Pages, DS; Sommer, MA; Groh, JM, Beyond the labeled line: variation in visual reference frames from intraparietal cortex to frontal eye fields and the superior colliculus., Journal of neurophysiology (2017) [10.1152/jn.00584.2017] [abs].
  • Oh-Descher, H; Beck, JM; Ferrari, S; Sommer, MA; Egner, T, Probabilistic inference under time pressure leads to a cortical-to-subcortical shift in decision evidence integration., NeuroImage, vol 162 (2017), pp. 138-150 [10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.08.069] [abs].
  • Abzug, ZM; Sommer, MA, Supplementary Eye Fields (2017) [abs].

Lectures and Invited Talks

  • New Faculty Lecture Series,