Virend K. Somers, M.D., Ph.D., is a consultant cardiologist in the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, with joint appointments in the Division of Nephrology and Internal Medicine and the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Somers also directs the Cardiovascular Facility and the Sleep Facility within the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. He holds the academic rank of professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and is recognized with the distinction of a named professorship, the Alice Sheets Marriott Professorship. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 1999.
Dr. Somers earned the M.B. Ch.B. degree at the University of Natal in South Africa. He completed internships at the University of Natal and King Edward Hospital. He also served as registrar in anesthesiology in South Africa and completed a residency in general, neurosurgical, obstetric, pediatric and cardiac anesthesia at King Edward Hospital. Subsequently, he received a Nuffield Dominions Scholarship to Oxford University where he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree. He then completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Iowa and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Dr. Somers’ translational research program focuses on the role of the autonomic nervous system in cardiovascular regulation, with an emphasis on normal and disordered sleep. The team also studies vascular and adipocyte biology, examining how changes in neural mechanisms may influence the local control of blood vessels and adipocyte function. His research utilizes an integrated physiologic approach to studying cardiovascular function relevant to sleep, obesity and cardiovascular disease. His research has been funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; National Center for Research Resources; the European Union; National Institutes of Health; National Institute on Aging; and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, among others. Currently his program is funded by 3 RO1 grants from the NIH as well as grants from the AHA. He has given many international and national presentations and has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, editorials, abstracts and letters. He has also served as associate editor, editorial board member and reviewer for prominent medical journals.
He has received many honors and awards, including the Outstanding Investigator Award, conferred by Mayo Clinic Dept. of Medicine; the Distinguished Cardiovascular Scientist Award, conferred by the University of Iowa; the Lifetime Achievement Award, conferred by the South African Society of Sleep Medicine; the Robert M. Berne Distinguished Lectureship Award, conferred by the American Physiologic Society; the CHEST 2017 Distinguished Scientist Honor Lecturer in Cardiopulmonary Physiology; the Mayo Foundation 2017 Distinguished Investigator Award; the AHA Council on Hypertension 2018 Arthur C. Corcoran Memorial Lecturer Award; and was recently elected to the Association of American Physicians. His H-index is 97 with well over 40,000 citations.
In addition to his clinical and research activities, Dr. Somers holds full faculty privileges in Neuroscience, Mayo Graduate School, and has provided mentorship to many pre- and postdoctoral and research fellows as well as junior faculty. He actively serves in professional organizations, including the American Physiological Society and the American Heart Association. In addition, he is a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and American College of Cardiology, and he serves on the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board of the National Institutes of Health. He has been elected to membership of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the AAP, and the Association of University Cardiologists.