A Personal Touch of Adrian Cohen

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Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.

This week: Adrian Cohen






1. Name, nationality, current function, department & theme?
Adrian Mark Cohen, British (not Scottish, as many seem to believe!), Scientific policy advisor, RIMLS Institute, no theme, just science in general. Born in Salford, just outside Manchester (no, I don’t support United), in April 1977.

2. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up? Can you tell us something about your childhood years. 
I always wanted to be an airline pilot, jet-setting across the world. Europe is about as far as I have got. I had a happy childhood playing computer games, (table)tennis and snooker. Oh yes, and darts. Very British!

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study and why did you choose that study/those studies?
My first degree (B.Sc.) was in Pharmacology, which I obtained in Sunderland, NE England. Why? After realising I couldn’t fly (actually, I did really like Superman) I became interested in Pharmacy. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make the grade but I kept up my fascination of how drugs errr molecules work. After obtaining first class honours, I went to Glasgow University to start my PhD investigating drug-resistance in Toxoplasma gondii. Jet-setting ambitions really working here. In December 2001, I started work for Galapagos Genomics, Leiden, and in 2004 joined Henk Stunnenberg’s lab working on the malaria histone code. I decided the research life wasn’t for me and through opportunities in managing European FP6  projects, I became scientific manager of the institute. I haven’t looked back since. :-)

4. The RIMLS motto is ‘to understand molecular mechanisms of disease’. What does this mean for you?
The gateway to understanding how disease occurs and how we can apply that knowledge to develop new therapies/diagnostics/prognostics.

5. Which international scientist inspires/inspired you the most? Please give a motivation why.
Stephen Hawking (1942 – ) English theoretical physicist, cosmologist. Against all physical obstacles this man has really changed the way people view the Universe. Yes, perhaps, the average scientist can’t follow his theoretical calculations and philosophies, but he does raise the curiosity for science within me.

6. Which research discovery that you have made has made you most proud?
I was involved in the discovery of GPR3 and its involvement in Alzheimer’s. The work was published in Science in 2009.

7. Given unlimited finance what experiment would you perform?
I’m fascinated by the thought of if intelligent life exists elsewhere in the Universe. Maybe they know the cure for some of our incurable diseases? Or vice-versa, let’s be collegial about it.

8. What does your working area (desk, office) look like and what does it say about you (or your research)? 
My desk is virtually paperless. Well organised, I think.

9. Nominate a colleague to be in the spotlight and what would you like to ask him or her? 
Robert Sauerwein. How close are we to a malaria vaccine?

10. What type of person are you, quick insights:

a) Mac or PC?:          Mac
b) Theater of cinema?: Theater
c) Dine out or dine in?: Dine out
d) Ferrari or Fiat?:     Ferrari
e) Shopaholic or chocoholic?:        Chocoholic
f) Culture or Nature?: Nature


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