Virend Kristen Somers received his Medicine degree from the University of Natal in South Africa. He was then awarded a Nuffield Dominion Scholarship to Oxford University where he received his Doctor of Philosophy Degree. He subsequently completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Internal Medicine Residency and Cardiology Fellowship at the University of Iowa, where he served as Director of the Cardiovascular Neurophysiology Laboratory. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, and has been appointed as a Mayo Foundation Clinical Investigator. He is Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases and is an American Society of Hypertension certified Consultant in Hypertension.
Dr. Somers is a prior Sleep Academic Awardee of the NIH, a Fellow and Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 1999, and was twice awarded the Demuth Prize for excellence and originality in hypertension research by the International Society of Hypertension. He received the First Prize of the National Young Investigator Competition of the Heart Institute for Children, the Cournand and Comroe Young Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, the David Amar Medal, the Malherbe Distinguished Achievement Award, the American Society of Hypertension Young Scholar Award and the University of Iowa Cardiovascular Division Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa by Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, received the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus Early Achievement Award, and was appointed as the American College of Cardiology-Pfizer Visiting Professor in 2005 (University of Chicago), 2006 (University of Alabama), and 2007 (University of Cincinnati). He was also named as the 2007 Royal Perth Hospital Visiting Professor. He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Hypertension and the Italian Heart Journal, and is Associate Editor for Sleep and Associate Editor for Chest. He has also been elected to membership of the Association of University Cardiologists.Â He chaired the Writing Committee for the AHA/ACC/NIH Scientific Statement on Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease, was elected to the Steering Committee of the National Sleep Research Network, and received the Mayo Foundation Department of Medicine Outstanding Investigator Award, as well as the Mayo Foundation Department of Medicine Landmark Contribution to the Literature Award. He recently received the University of Iowa Distinguished Cardiovascular Scientist Award, has been named as the 2011 University of Cape Town Bernard Pimstone Lecturer, and an NIH Biomedicine Series Lecturer. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the South African Association of Sleep Medicine, CTSA Mentor of the Year Award for 2012, and 2014 American Physiologic Society Robert M. Berne Distinguished Lectureship Award.
His work examines the mechanisms influencing the brain’s regulation of the heart and blood vessels in both health and disease. His research includes sleep and its interaction with circulatory control, as well as the mechanisms linking obesity to heart disease. This research is funded by three NIH R01 grants, the American Heart Association, the Mayo Foundation, and a European Union Joint Grant to Mayo and the ICRC.