Group leaders

Iris Sommer MD PhD

Position professor of cognitive aspects of neurological and psychiatric disorders
Research fields psychosis, hallucinations, transdiagnostic symptoms
  • Research Profile
  • Selected Publications
  • Iris Sommer studied medicine in Amsterdam and Public Health in Maastricht. She obtained her PhD cum laude at University Utrecht in 2004 on brain imaging in schizophrenia. In 2011, Sommer was appointed Professor of Psychiatry at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, where she initiated the Voices Clinic. Since 2016, she is visting professor at the Norwegian Center of Excellence, university of Bergen, department of medical and biological psychology. Currently, she is professor of cognitive aspects of neurological and psychiatric disorders at the Departments of Neuroscience in UMCG. She received a Veni, Clinical Fellowship, Vidi and TOP grant from ZonMW and recently a large grant to study effects of antipsychotic maintenance treatment in early psychosis.

    Professor Sommer was elected as a member of the Young Academy of the KNAW (Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences) and is a member of the Permanent Committee for Large Research Infrastructure at NWO. She is consultant to GABATHER, a small company developing new GABAergic treatment for psychiatric disorderd and a member of the Dutch Committee for Research Integrity (LOWI). She is associate editor of Schizophrenia Bulleting, Psychological Medicine and the Dutch Medical Jorunal (NTVG).

    She published two popular science books. The most recent, Haperende Hersenen, became a national best seller. Sommer published over 250 articles on hallucinations, language, cognition, and psychosis. Her current research interest is related to the association between cognitive dysfunction and activity of the immune system. Her aim is to develop new treatment to support people with cognition deficits during their recovery of medical, psychiatric of neurological disorders.

    • All Publications: mepa page or  pdf Selected Publications:
      1. Nuninga JO, Mandl RCW, Boks MP, Bakker S, Somers M, Heringa SM, Nieuwdorp W, Hoogduin H, Kahn RS, Luijten P, Sommer IEC. Volume increase in the dentate gyrus after electroconvulsive therapy in depressed patients as measured with 7T. Molecular Psychiatry. Mar 12, 2019. Pdf. This study shows neurogenesis to underlie the anti-depressive effect of ECT. 
      2. Kahn RS, Sommer IE, Meyer-Lindenberg A, Weinberger DRW, van Os J, Murray M, O’Donnovan M, Correll C, Cannon T, Kane J, Insel T. Schizophrenia. Nature Reviews Disease Primer Nov 12, 2015. Pdf. State-of-the-art paper on schizophrenia with world-leading authors.
      3. Blom JD, Sommer IE, Koops S, Sacks OMD. Prosopometamorphopsia and facial hallucinations. The Lancet 2014 384(9958):1998. Pdf.
      4. Sommer IE, Diederen KM, Blom JD, Willems A, Kushan L, Slotema K, Boks MP, Daalman K, Hoek HW, Neggers SF, Kahn RS. Auditory verbal hallucinations predominantly activate the right inferior frontal area. Brain. 2008;131(Pt 12):3169-77. Pdf. This study showed the right hemisphere language structures active during auditory verbal hallucinations.
      5. Sommer IE, Ramsey NF, Bouma A, Kahn RS. Cerebral mirror-imaging in a monozygotic twin. The Lancet. 1999 Oct 23;354(9188):1445-6. Pdf. This study showed opposite dominance for language in monozygotic twins.
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