Daniel W. Hommer, NIH section chief

January 14, 2013

Daniel W. Hommer, 64, a psychiatrist and National Institutes of Health section chief who studied how the brain responds under the influence of alcohol, died Jan. 2 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He had a pulmonary embolism.

A daughter, Rebecca Hommer, confirmed the death.

Since 1992, Dr. Hommer had worked at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and had been chief of the section for brain electrophysiology and imaging.

He conducted brain imaging studies to determine the acute and long-term effects of alcoholism on the brain and how the brain of a heavy drinker responds to factors such as motivation and reward.

Dr. Hommer worked at the National Institute of Mental Health in the 1980s, becoming co-director of the clinical neuroscience branch’s electrophysiology unit.

From 1987 to 1992, he was an associate professor in the University of Washington’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. He also was a staff psychiatrist at a Veterans Administration hospital in Seattle.

Daniel William Hommer was a native of Easton, Pa., and a 1970 psychology graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a 1976 graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He became chief resident at Yale School of Medicine’s psychiatric research unit.

His memberships included the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Dr. Hommer was a Rockville resident.

His wife of 35 years, Melissa Cohen Hommer, died in 2011. Survivors include four children, Rebecca Hommer of Bethesda, Jonathan Hommer of Washington, and Elana Zimmerman and Zachary Hommer, both of Rockville; a sister, Judith Hommer of Rockville and Easton; and two grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein