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Distinguished Professor
Department of Medicine Administration
4119 Bioinformatics


Dr. Cohen’s research focuses on the transmission and prevention of transmission of HIV. Dr. Cohen helped to develop laboratory methods to measure HIV in genital secretions, as well as methods to detect the best antiviral agents to reduce replication of HIV in these compartments. For this work, Dr. Cohen has received 30 years of continuous funding from the NIH, including an NIH MERIT Award. Dr. Cohen is the architect and principal investigator of the multinational HPTN 052 trial, which demonstrated that antiretroviral treatment prevents the sexual transmission of HIV-1. This work was recognized by Science Magazine as the “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2011.

The author of more than 500 publications, Dr. Cohen has written extensively about the prevention of HIV infection. Much of Dr. Cohen’s research has been conducted in resource-constrained countries, especially Malawi and China.

Dr. Cohen received a B.S. degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and an M.D. degree from Rush Medical College. He completed training in internal medicine at the University of Michigan and an infectious disease fellowship at Yale. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2012.

Dr. Cohen received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Rush Medical College in 2000. He received the Thomas Parran Award (2005) for lifetime achievement in STD research from the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association. In 2008 Dr. Cohen received the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest honor in the University of North Carolina 16-campus system.

Selected Publications

Royce AR, Seña A, Cates W and Cohen MS (1997). Sexual transmission of HIV. N Engl J Med 336: 1072-1078.

Vernazza PL, Gilliam BL, Dyer J, Fiscus SA, Eron JJ, Frank AC, and Cohen MS (1997). Quantification of HIV in semen: correlation with antiviral treatment and immune status. AIDS 11:987-993.

Cohen MS, Hoffman IF, Royce RA, Kazembe P, Dyer JR, Zimba D, Vernazza PL, Costello-Daly C, Maida M, Fiscus SA, and Eron JJ (1997). Reduction of concentration of HIV-1 in semen after treatment of urethritis: implications for prevention of sexual transmission of HIV-1. Lancet 349:1868-1873.

Pereira AS, Kashuba ADM, Fiscus SA, Hall JE, Tidwell RR, Troiani L, Dunn JA, Eron JJ, Cohen MS (1999). Antiretroviral therapy and HIV-1 in semen: relationship between drug concentration and viral burden. J Infect Dis 180 (6):2039-43

Chakraborty H, Sen PK, Helms RW, Vernazza PL, Fiscus SA, Eron JJ, Patterson BK, Coombs RW, Krieger JN, Cohen MS (2001). Viral burden in genital secretions determines male-to-female sexual transmission of HIV-1: A probabilistic empiric model. AIDS 15:621-627.

Cohen MS, Gay C, Kashuba AD, Blower S, and Paxton L (2007). Narrative Review: antiretroviral therapy to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV-1. Ann Intern Med 146: 591-601

Cohen MS, Chen YQ, McCauley M, Gamble T, Hosseinipour MC, Kumarasamy N, Hakim JG, Kumwenda J, Grinsztejn B, Pilotto JH, Godbole SV, Mehendale S, Chariyalertsak S, Santos BR, Mayer KH, Hoffman IF, Eshleman SH, Piwowar-Manning E, Wang L, Makhema J, Mills LA, de Bruyn G, Sanne I, Eron J, Gallant J, Havlir D, Swindells S, Ribaudo H, Elharrar V, Burns D, Taha TE, Nielsen-Saines K, Celentano D, Essex M, Fleming TR for the HPTN 052 Study Team (2011). Prevention of HIV-1 infection with early antiretroviral therapy. New Eng J Med. 363: 493-505.

Padian NS, McCoy SI, Karim SS, Hasen N, Kim J, Bartos M, Katabira E, Bertozzi SM, Schwartländer B, Cohen MS (2011). HIV prevention transformed: the new prevention research. Lancet 378: 269-78.

Powers KA, Ghani AC, Miller WC, Hoffman IF, Pettifor AE, Kamanga G, Martinson FE, Cohen MS (2011). The role of acute and early HIV infection and implication for transmission prevention strategies in Lilongwe, Malawi: a modeling study. Lancet 378: 256-68.

Smith, K, Muessig, KE, Powers, KS Miller, WC and Cohen MS (2012). HIV treatment as prevention: the utility and limitations of ecological observation. PLoS Med. 9(7): e1001260.

Myron S. Cohen is the J. Herbert Bate Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology and Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also serves as chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, director of the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health. Additionally, Dr. Cohen is co-principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN).


Center for Infectious Diseases
Center for Aids Research (CFAR)
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases