Nicholas Cohen, Ph.D.

Nicholas Cohen, Ph.D.

Contact Information

211 Highland Parkway
Rochester, NY 14620

Professional Bio

Dr. Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology and of Psychiatry. He received his B.A. degree cum laude in Biology from Princeton University in 1959 and his Ph.D. in Biology (supervisor Dr. Johannes Holtfreter) from the University of Rochester in Feb. 1966. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Scholar (supervisor Dr. William H. Hildemann) in the Department Medical Microbiology & Immunology of the UCLA School of Medicine from1965-67.

He joined the URMC Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1967 where he served until his retirement in 2004. He took a sabbatical at the Basel Institute for Immunology, Basel, Switzerland in 1975-76 and at the Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands in 1982-83. In addition to his joint appointment as Professor of Psychiatry (1992-2004), he was Director of the Division of Immunology (1979-2004) and Director of the Graduate Cluster in Immunology, Microbiology & Vaccine Biology (1998-2004)

Research Bio

Dr. Cohen conducted research in two areas of inquiry: evolutionary immunobiology and psychoneuroimmunology. He was involved in each of these "disciplines" from their earliest emergence as areas of investigation.
When in mid 1960s, he published the first detailed analyses of transplantation immunity in urodele amphibians, it was just being recognized that so called primitive vertebrates had bonafide immune systems fully capable of mounting adaptive and innate defensive responses. His subsequent research in amphibian immunology, using primarily a Xenopus model, addressed the phylogeny of thymus function, MHC restriction, cytokines, tolerance, heat shock proteins and immunity, and anti-viral immunity in the context of amphibian declines and extinctions.

In the 1970s, his research with Dr. Robert Ader revealed that Pavlovian conditioning (i.e., learning) could be used to modulate immune responses in rodents. Their early research demonstrating immune responses are shaped by complex interactions among behavior, the nervous system, and the immune systems, formed the cornerstone of the field they named psychoneuroimmunology.

Awards & Honors (National)

Norman Cousins Memorial Lecture Awardee of the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society, 2004 2004 - 2004
BurroughsWellcome Visiting Professor, Florida International University, 2002 2002 - 2002
Immunology Course Instructor– SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine 1999 1999 - 1999
Psychoneuroimmunology Summer Workshop Faculty, May 1998, Univ .Missouri, Kansas City, MO 1998 - 1998
Bidder Lecturer 1997 –Invited-Society for Experimental Biology, Canterbury, England 1997 - 1997
Elected Vice-President for The Americas - International Society for Developmental and Comparative Immunology 1994-1997, 1997-00 1994 - 2000
Elected Member of the Executive Council, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, 1993- 1994; 1995-1998; Chair, Scientific Affair 1993 - 1998
Visiting Professor: Psychoneuroimmunology Course, 1989, University of Tennessee Med. Center, Memphis, TN 1989 - 1989
NIH MERIT grant awardee 1989-1998 1989 - 1998
Board of Directors, American Type Culture Collection (1988-1994); American Society of Zoologists representative); Member, Member 1988 - 1994
Senior Fulbright Research Scholar and Visiting Professor 1982-1983 Agricultural University (now Wageningen University), The Neth 1982 - 1983
Visiting Professor - Reptilian Immunology Group, Cairo University, Arab Republic of Egypt 1979 - 1979
Elected Chairperson, Division of Comparative Immunology of the American Society of Zoologists, 1977-1979; Chairperson Elect 1993 1977
Editorial Board: Developmental and Comparative Immunology (1977 to 2003); co-founder and Associate Editor: Brain, Behavior and I 1977 - 2003
Member, Immunobiology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health 1976 - 1980
NIH Research Career Development Awardee 1974 - 1978

Awards & Honors (Local)

Elected to the Executive Board, Rochester Chapter of the Society of the Sigma Xi 1973 - 1977
Elected Secretary, Rochester Chapter of the Society of the Sigma Xi 1971 - 1973
Markle Scholar Candidate from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry 1968 - 1968
Elected to Full Membership in the Society of the Sigma Xi, 1966 (UCLA Chapter) 1966 - 1966
Recipient of the Donald R. Charles Memorial Award, University of Rochester (Department of Biology) 1965 - 1965
Elected to Associate Membership in the Society of the Sigma Xi, 1959 (Princeton Chapter) 1959 - 1959

Recent Journal Articles

Robert J, Cohen N. "The genus Xenopus as a multispecies model for evolutionary and comparative immunobiology of the 21st century." Developmental and comparative immunology. 2011 35(9):916-23. Epub 2011 Jan 28.
Kinney KS, Cohen N. "Neural-immune system interactions in Xenopus." Frontiers in bioscience (Landmark edition). 2009 14:112-29. Epub 2009 Jan 01.
Cohen N. "Norman Cousins Lecture. The uses and abuses of psychoneuroimmunology: a global overview." Brain, behavior, and immunity. 2006 20(2):99-112. Epub 2005 Nov 22.
Robert J, Morales H, Buck W, Cohen N, Marr S, Gantress J. "Adaptive immunity and histopathology in frog virus 3-infected Xenopus." Virology. 2005 332(2):667-75.
Robert J, Gantress J, Cohen N, Maniero GD. "Xenopus as an experimental model for studying evolution of hsp--immune system interactions." Methods : a companion to Methods in enzymology. 2004 32(1):42-53.

Current Appointments

Professor Emeritus - Department of Microbiology and Immunology (SMD) - Primary
Professor Emeritus - Department of Psychiatry, Behav/Psychosoc Med (SMD)


PhD | Biology | University of Rochester1966
BA | Biology | Princeton University1959