Stanley Cohen (biochemist)

Stanley Cohen (November 17, 1922 – February 5, 2020) was an American biochemist who, along with Rita Levi-Montalcini, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986 for the isolation of nerve growth factor and the discovery of epidermal growth factor.[3][4][5][6] He died in February 2020 at the age of 97.[7][8]

Stanley Cohen
Stanley Cohen-Biochemist.jpg
Stanley Cohen
Born(1922-11-17)November 17, 1922
DiedFebruary 5, 2020(2020-02-05) (aged 97)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Oberlin College
Brooklyn College
Known forNerve growth factor
AwardsLouisa Gross Horwitz Prize (1983)
Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1986)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1986)
Franklin Medal (1987)
Scientific career
InstitutionsVanderbilt University (1959-1999)
Washington University in St. Louis (1953-1959)
ThesisThe Nitrogenous Metabolism of the Earthworm (1949)
Doctoral advisorHoward B. Lewis[1][2]

Early life and educationEdit

Cohen was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 17, 1922. He was the son of Fannie (née Feitel) and Louis Cohen, a tailor.[9][10] His parents were Jewish immigrants.[11] Cohen received his bachelor's degree in 1943 from Brooklyn College, where he had double-majored in chemistry and biology. After working as a bacteriologist at a milk processing plant to earn money, he received his Master of Arts in zoology from Oberlin College in 1945. He earned a doctorate from the department of biochemistry at the University of Michigan in 1948.


Working with Rita Levi-Montalcini (co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1986) at Washington University in St. Louis in the 1950s, Cohen isolated nerve growth factor and then went on to discover epidermal growth factor.[12] He continued his research on cellular growth factors after joining the faculty of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1959. His research on cellular growth factors has proven fundamental to understanding the development of cancer and designing anti-cancer drugs. Cohen retired from Vanderbilt University in 1999.[13]

Cohen also received the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University together with Rita Levi-Montalcini in 1983 and the National Medal of Science in 1986.


  1. ^ Cohen, S.; Lewis, H. B. (1949). "The nitrogenous metabolism of the earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris)". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 180 (1): 79–91. PMID 18133376.
  2. ^ Cohen, S.; Lewis, H. B. (1950). "The nitrogenous metabolism of the earthworm (Lumbricus terrestric). II. Arginase and urea synthesis". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 184 (2): 479–484. PMID 15428427.
  3. ^ Cohen, Stanley (1993). "Epidermal Growth Factor" (PDF). In Tore Frängsmyr; Jan Lindsten (eds.). Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1981-1990. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. ISBN 978-981-02-0793-9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2010-12-15. Cohen's Nobel Lecture.
  4. ^ Raju, T. N. (2000). "The Nobel chronicles. 1986: Stanley Cohen Cohen (b 1922); Rita Levi-Montalcini (b 1909)". Lancet. 355 (9202): 506. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)82069-3. PMID 10841166.
  5. ^ Shampo, M. A.; Kyle, R. A. (1999). "Stanley Cohen—Nobel Laureate for Growth Factor". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 74 (6): 600. doi:10.4065/74.6.600. PMID 10377936.
  6. ^ Weltman, J. K. (1987). "The 1986 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine awarded for discovery of growth factors: Rita Levi-Montalcini, M.D., and Stanley Cohen, Ph.D". New England and Regional Allergy Proceedings. 8 (1): 47–48. doi:10.2500/108854187779045385. PMID 3302667.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Stanley Cohen Biography. Archived from the original on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  10. ^ Sleeman, Elizabeth, ed. (2003). The international who's who 2004 (67th ed.). London: Europa. p. 339. ISBN 978-1857432176. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Carpenter, G.; Cohen, S. (1979). "Epidermal Growth Factor". Annual Review of Biochemistry. 48: 193–216. doi:10.1146/ PMID 382984.
  13. ^ "Cohen's visit brings alive wonder, power of science (12/7/07)". Retrieved 2019-11-17.

External linksEdit