Iris Sommer studied medicine in Amsterdam and Public Health in Maastricht. She obtained her PhD cum laude at University Utrecht in 2004 on brain imaging in schizophrenia. In 2011, Sommer was appointed Professor of Psychiatry at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, where she initiated the Voices Clinic. Currently, she is professor of cognitive aspects of neurological and psychiatric disorders at the Departments of Neuroscience in UMCG. Since 2016, she is visting professor at the Norwegian Center of Excellence, university of Bergen, department of medical and biological psychology. She received a Veni, Clinical Fellowship, Vidi and TOP grant from ZonMW and recently a large grant to study effects of antipsychotic maintenance treatment in early psychosis.

Professor Sommer was elected as a member of the Young Academy of the KNAW (Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences) and is a member of the Permanent Committee for Large Research Infrastructure at NWO. She is consultant to GABATHER, a small company developing new GABAergic treatment for psychiatric disorderd and a member of the Dutch Committee for Research Integrity (LOWI). She is associate editor of Schizophrenia Bulleting, Psychological Medicine and the Dutch Medical Jorunal (NTVG).

She published two popular science books. The most recent, Haperende Hersenen, became a national best seller. Sommer published over 250 articles on hallucinations, language, cognition, and psychosis. Her current research interest is related to the association between cognitive dysfunction and activity of the immune system. Her aim is to develop new treatment to support people with cognition deficits during their recovery of medical, psychiatric of neurological disorders.