J. JOHN COHEN, MD,CM, PhD
Professor of Immunology & Microbiology, and Medicine
Department of Immunology & Microbiology
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Barbara Davis Center, MailStop B-140
1775 Aurora Court
Aurora, CO 80045, USA
John Cohen was born in Montréal and attended McGill University, obtaining his BSc (Honors, Biochemistry), MSc (Endocrinology), PhD (Immunochemistry), and MD, CM degrees; and, in 2010, an honorary DSc. He did a residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital, followed by postdoctoral fellowships with Henry Claman at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver, and Avrion Mitchison at Mill Hill in London. He returned to Colorado as Assistant Professor, and is now Professor of Immunology & Microbiology, and Medicine. In 1987-8 he was visiting Professor at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Lausanne. He was awarded a number of scholarships and prizes during his training, including the Clemens von Pirquet Award. The medical students at Colorado have given him the Excellence in Teaching Award most years since 1982 and he has 5 times been selected as Teacher of the Year. In addition to Dean's, Chancellor's, and President's teaching awards, he was in 1992 made a President's Teaching Scholar, the University's highest teaching recognition. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of Alpha Omega Alpha's national Glaser Award as outstanding teacher of medicine. He was given the Thomas Jefferson Award by CU in 2009.In 1989 he founded the "Mini-Medical School" for the general public, a concept now being developed in over 80 schools in America, Canada, and Europe. In 2007 he was awarded a doctorate honoris causa by the Université de Sherbrooke for his work in public education. For their implementation of the Mini-Medical concept he and his collaborators shared the Colorado Healthcare Communicators Gold Leaf Award in 1997, 2001, and 2002; he was their Healthcare Communicator of the Year in 2006. In 2003 Dr. Cohen started the Colorado Café Scientifique, where ordinary people meet in a pub to talk science. He received the AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science in 2010. In 2007 he and Helen Macfarlane launched the CU "Art in Science | Science in Art" competition and exhibition. He has served on many NIH study sections and has been a consultant to NASA, the Arthritis Foundation, the Milheim Foundation, and Alpha Omega Alpha, of which he is a faculty member. Dr. Cohen is in constant demand to teach and talk around the world, and has held many honorary lectureships. He is consulting editor of The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. His research group was the first to show that cells have a genetic "suicide program" by which they can be eliminated from the body, in a paper that has been cited 2000 times. He is currently interested in the neurobiology of teaching, and has given a talk entitled "Lecture 3.0: A Hack for Overclocked Wetware." He is alternately elated and depressed that MOOCs seem to be taking over the world of education. But in 2014, he and Helen Macfarlane transformed the Mini Med School into a MOOC; this was the most difficult, and most rewarding, effort in outreach education yet for both of them.