Wesleyan portrait of Frederick M. Cohan

Frederick M. Cohan

Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment

Professor of Biology

Shanklin Laboratory, 207
860-685-3482

Professor, Environmental Studies

Professor, Integrative Sciences

fcohan@wesleyan.edu

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BS Stanford University
PHD Harvard University

Frederick M. Cohan

Fred Cohan is a microbial ecologist studying the origins of species in bacteria and viruses and how we can prevent the next pandemic.

Cohan grew up in Pasadena, California in a close family that ran a small drug store. He graduated from Pasadena High School, earned his B.S. in Biology at Stanford, and was awarded the first Ph.D. from Harvard's then-new department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. Under the mentorship of Richard Lewontin and then Timothy Prout, he used Drosophila to study the forces of cohesion within animal species. As he grew weary of changing flies, he seized an opportunity to reinvent himself as an evolutionary bacteriologist, with the guidance of Conrad Istock and John Spizizen. While he first saw bacteria as a convenient system for studying very general questions about evolution that one might rather study in elephants (if one could), he has grown to see bacteria as very interesting creatures in their own right. He is intrigued by what is the same and different about species and speciation across all walks of life, and investigates how the unique combination of enormous population size and rare but promiscuous genetic exchange in bacteria and viruses affect their speciation and diversity. As the Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment at Wesleyan University, he teaches various courses in evolutionary biology, bioinformatics, and the effects of global change on infectious disease.

Publications:

https://fcohan.faculty.wesleyan.edu/publications-2/

 

Frederick Cohan grew up in Pasadena, California in a close family that ran a small drug store. He graduated from Pasadena High School, earned his B.S. in Biology at Stanford, and was awarded the first Ph.D. from Harvard's then-new department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. Under the mentorship of Richard Lewontin and then Timothy Prout, he used Drosophila to study the forces of cohesion within animal species. As he grew weary of changing flies, he seized an opportunity to reinvent himself as an evolutionary bacteriologist, with the guidance of Conrad Istock, Richard Michod, and John Spizizen. While he first saw bacteria as a convenient system for studying very general questions about evolution that one might rather study in elephants (if one could), he has grown to see bacteria as very interesting creatures in their own right. He is intrigued by what is the same and different about species and speciation across all walks of life, and investigates how the unique combination of enormous population size and rare but promiscuous genetic exchange in bacteria affect bacterial speciation and diversity. As a professor of biology at Wesleyan University, he teaches various courses in evolutionary biology, bioinformatics, and the effects of global change on infectious disease. He is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Weekly review session for Biology 182: 2:15-3:15 Fridays in 113 Exley

 

Courses

Fall 2024
BIOL 173 - 01
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 02
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 03
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 04
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 05
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 06
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 07
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 08
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 09
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 10
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 173 - 11
Global Change & Infectious Dis

BIOL 547 - 01
Journal Club