Dr. George G. Somjen, Professor Emeritus of Cell Biology, died on Feb. 15, School of Medicine officials announced. Dr. Somjen joined the faculty of the Duke University School of Medicine in 1964, and retired in 2000. He was also a Professor of Neurobiology, Immunology and Physiology.
Recognized for his expertise in neurophysiology and his prolific scientific career, Dr. Somjen studied the brain, and for more than 15 years specifically focused on the transient effects of brief hypoxia, as well as the mechanisms of lasting damage caused by oxygen deprivation in mammalian brain tissue. During his time at Duke, Dr. Somjen also taught at the Medical School, mentoring many students. He published hundreds of scientific articles as well as three books on physiology, Ions in the Brain: Normal Function, Seizures, and Stroke; Neurophysiology: The Essentials; and Sensory Coding in the Mammalian Nervous System.
Dr. Somjen received his medical degree from University of Amsterdam. He later moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, to teach and do research at the University of Otago. He immigrated to the United States in 1962.
In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made in his memory to the Jewish Triangle Chorale, PO Box 51974, Durham, NC 27717.