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Get to Know your Local Laboratories: The Sommer Lab

(originally published in 2009)

Marc A. Sommer’s laboratory resides behind the virtually windowless walls of Mellon Institute in Oakland and focuses on studying vision in monkeys using very invasive methods. Sommer does this research with funding from at least three NIH grants composed of tax dollars [1]. Conveniently, Sommer is also a staff member at NIH. Mellon Institute has multiple researchers doing this same research on imprisoned animals, including the Olson lab and the Colby lab. Similar to these researchers who have already made appearances on the PAAV lab list, the Sommer lab forces monkeys to undergo intensive surgeries to implant machinery in their brains, skulls, and eyes in order to monitor them, but Sommer’s research often takes the invasiveness a step further.

In one study, Sommer and colleagues forced rhesus monkeys to undergo intensive surgeries to implant recording devices in their skulls and brains. They then activated and deactivated brain cells using even more invasive methods. They would physically stimulate the neurons inside the brain to carry signals in opposite directions from what is natural and then would deactivate them by physically injecting them with muscimol, a mushroom extract known to have multiple effects on the brain. They concluded that their research opened the door for more research like this on imprisoned animals using other brain cells. [2]

In another study, Sommer’s lab gave monkeys surgeries to implant screws in their skulls to be attached to a head restraint chair, neural recording devices in their brains, and coils in their eyes. They then taught the monkeys an eye movement task and restrained them to chairs by their heads to measure their brain cell activity and eye movements during these tasks. [3]

In another study, the Sommer lab again gave monkeys intensive surgeries to implant neural recording devices in their brains and coils in their eyes.  The monkeys were then fixed to primate restraint chairs so that their eye movements could be monitored during tasks. [4]

None of these articles mention what happened to the monkeys when the experiments were finished.

These are only a few of Sommer’s recently published studies. Animals who think and feel with the intelligence of human children are currently imprisoned in his laboratory to suffer and be caused pain for the interest of the researchers.

Marc A Sommer can be contacted in the following ways:

Office: 115 Mellon Institute, 4400 5th Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213 Telephone:412-268-4486
E-mail: [email protected]

Have information on an animal laboratory that you would like to share? Email us at paavATtutanotaDOTcom about it. We will protect your privacy.

[1] NIH Grants: 1R01EY017592-01, 5R01EY017592-03, 5R01EY017592-02
[2] Sommer & Wurtz. (2006). Influence of the thalamus on spatial visual processing
in frontal cortex. Nature, 444.
[3] Mayo & Sommer. (2008). Neuronal Adaptation Caused by Sequential Visual Stimulation in the Frontal Eye Field. J Neurophysiol, 100.
[4] Crapse & Sommer. (2009). Frontal Eye Field Neurons with Spatial Representations
Predicted by Their Subcortical Input. The Journal of Neuroscience, 29(16). 5308 –5318.

This post first appeared on Pittsburgh Association For The Abolition Of Vivisection, please read the originial post: here

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Get to Know your Local Laboratories: The Sommer Lab


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