An internationally known researcher and educator, her research has focused on defining the key regulators controlling development, maintenance and regeneration of oral-dental-craniofacial tissues. Her work has been recognized with numerous honors and awards.
Before joining the University of Washington, Somerman was on the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry from 1991 to 2002. There, she served as a professor and chair of periodontics/prevention and geriatrics and also held an appointment as professor of pharmacology at the School of Medicine. From 1984 to 1991, she was on the faculty of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.
Somerman has been a long-standing member of the NIH and NIDCR communities, having received her first NIH grant in 1987. In the early 1980s, she was a staff fellow in the dental institute’s intramural research program. She served on the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council from 1999 to 2002.
A native of Brooklyn, she holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a D.D.S. from New York University, a master’s degree in environmental health from Hunter College and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Rochester. She completed her periodontal residency at Eastman Dental Center in Rochester.