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
  • Investigator in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Contact Information:
  • Office Location: 101 Science Dr., 1153 Ciemas, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-7015
  • Email Address:

  • 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 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)
  • 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 790: Advanced Topics for Graduate Students in Biomedical Engineering
  • 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
  • EGR 491: Projects in Engineering
  • NEUROBIO 720C: Concepts in Neuroscience II - Sensory/Motor Integration
  • NEUROBIO 793: Research in Neurobiology
  • NEUROSCI 301L: Bioelectricity (AC or GE)
  • NEUROSCI 493: Research Independent Study 1
  • NEUROSCI 495: Research Independent Study 3
  • NEUROSCI 496: Research Independent Study 4
  • NEUROSCI 507: Neuronal Control of Movement (GE, EL)
  • NEUROSCI 755: Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Neuroscience (IPCN) Independent Research Rotation

Representative Publications: (More Publications)
    • 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].
    • 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].
    • Smith, MA; Sommer, MA, Spatial and temporal scales of neuronal correlation in visual area V4, The Journal of Neuroscience, vol 33 no. 12 (2013), pp. 5422-5432 [10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4782-12.2013] [abs].
    • Prevosto, V; Sommer, MA, Cognitive control of movement via the cerebellar-recipient thalamus., Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, vol 7 (2013) [10.3389/fnsys.2013.00056] [abs].
    • Crapse, TB; Sommer, MA, Frontal eye field neurons assess visual stability across saccades, The Journal of Neuroscience, vol 32 no. 8 (2012), pp. 2835-2845 [10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1320-11.2012] [abs].
Lectures and Invited Talks:
  • New Faculty Lecture Series,