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Stanley N. Cohen

AKA Stanley Norman Cohen

Born: 17-Feb-1935 [1]
Birthplace: Perth Amboy, NJ

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Recombinant DNA

Stanley N. Cohen is a physician and researcher, who has studied the biology of bacterial plasmids (circular deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules that replicate independently of the bacterial chromosome), and helped explain the mechanisms underlying the control of cell growth and gene expression in higher organisms. He is best known for his work with geneticist Herbert W. Boyer, in which they became the first scientists to transfer a gene from one species to another, proving that the transplanted gene could function normally in its new home.

Cohen and Boyer worked only a few dozen miles from each other, Cohen at Stanford and Boyer at the University of California at San Francisco, but did not meet until both men attended a conference on plasmids in Honolulu in the spring of 1972. Discovering their similar concerns, they had a late-night conversation over hot pastrami and corned beef sandwiches at a Korean deli on Waikiki Beach, and began collaborating. In just four months, using Boyer's methodology, they were able to successfully introduce foreign DNA into a bacterial plasma, and using Cohen's methodology, they were able to subsequently insert this modified plasmid into bacteria. Because bacteria divide very rapidly, their work allowed the genetic "manufacturing" of engineered drugs and hormones, leading to the multi-billion dollar biotechnology industry.

Cohen is not related to Stanley Cohen, who won the Nobel Prize for developing nerve growth factor (NGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF).

[1] 30-Jun-1935, according to some sources.

Father: Bernard Cohen (electrician)
Mother: Ida Stolz (bookkeeper)
Sister: Wilma
Wife: Joanna Lucy Wolter (m. 1961, two children)
Daughter: Anne
Son: Geoffrey

    University: BS Biology, Rutgers University (1956)
    Medical School: MD, University of Pennsylvania (1960)
    Scholar: Yeshiva University
    Teacher: Ass't Prof. of Medicine, Stanford University (1968-71)
    Teacher: Assoc. Prof. of Medicine, Stanford University (1971-75)
    Professor: Medicine, Stanford University (1975-77)
    Professor: Genetics & Medicine, Stanford University (1977-93)
    Professor: Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in the School of Medicine, Stanford University (1993-)
    Administrator: Trustee, Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania (1989-97)
    Administrator: Trustee, University of Pennsylvania (1997-2002)

    Guggenheim Fellowship (1975)
    Roche Institute V.D. Mattia Award (1977, with Herbert W. Boyer)
    Lasker Award (1980)
    ACS Marvin J. Johnson Award (1981)
    Wolf Prize in Medicine (1981)
    National Medal of Science (1988)
    National Medal of Technology and Innovation (1989)
    AGU Robert E Horton Medal (1993, with Boyer)
    Lemelson-MIT Prize (1996, with Boyer)
    National Inventors Hall of Fame (2001)
    Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine (2004, with Boyer)
    National Institutes of Health Division of Research Resources (1970-74)
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Editorial Board
    American Association for the Advancement of Science (1994)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1978)
    American Cancer Society
    American Philosophical Society (2006)
    American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    American Society for Microbiology (1992)
    American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
    Association of American Physicians
    Genetics Society of America
    Institute of Medicine (1988)
    Lasker Foundation Awards Jury (1981-88; 2006-present)
    National Academy of Sciences (1979)
    National Research Council Committee on Biotechnology Nomenclature
    Wellcome Trust Experimental Therapeutics Advisory Committee (1992-97)
    Jewish Ancestry

Official Website:

Author of books:
Development, Implementation, and Preliminary Evaluation of the Monitoring and Intervention of Therapeutic Action Systems (1984, genetics)

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