Prior to being named chair, Sonntag served as interim chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology since 2018.
In 2007, he arrived in Oklahoma to serve as the founding director of the Reynolds Oklahoma Center on Aging in the OU College of Medicine’s Department of Geriatric Medicine. He held the position of Professor and Donald W. Reynolds Chair of Aging Research. He is also director of the Center for Geroscience and Healthy Brain Aging.
Sonntag began his faculty career at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he served for 23 years in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. While there, he held the position of Scientific Director of Basic Science Research in the Roena Kulynych Center for Memory and Cognition Research of the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging.
Sonntag’s specific research interest is the interaction between the endocrine, vascular and the central nervous system that leads to mild cognitive impairment, specifically vascular cognitive impairment. He is principal investigator for the Cellular and Molecular Geroscience CoBRE grant at the OU Health Sciences Center, and he leads the Development Core of the Oklahoma Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging.