Adam Cohen

Hertz Fellow: Adam Cohen

Stanford University

Area of Study


Fellowship Years

2001 - 2007

Adam Cohen is a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology and the Department of Physics at Harvard University, with additional appointments at the Center for Brain Science and at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research focuses on understanding and controlling light-matter interactions in warm, wet, squishy environments. Projects in the Cohen Lab range from new approaches to imaging brain function, to understanding fundamental quantum mechanics of light-matter interactions, to studies on the biophysics of mucus.

In 2007, Cohen used his Fannie and John Hertz Fellowship to obtained a PhD in experimental biophysics from Stanford University. Previously, in 2003, Cohen received a PhD in theoretical physics from Cambridge, United Kingdom. As an undergrad, he graduated, summa cum laude, from Harvard, in 2001.

In 2007, Technology Review magazine named Cohen one of the top 35 U.S. technological innovators under the age of 35, and in 2012, Popular Science magazine named him one of their “Brilliant Ten” top young scientists. In 2014, Cohen received the Blavatnik National Award in Chemistry and the American Chemical Society Pure Chemistry Award. He has published over fifty peer-reviewed publications and has five patents issued or pending.

In addition to his academic work, Cohen founded a biotech company, Q-State Biosciences, which focuses on combining optical imaging with stem cell technology to develop new diagnostics and therapies for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Moreoever, He has traveled to Liberia where he worked on strengthening science education at the University of Liberia.


2007 - Trapping and Manipulating Single Molecules in Solution