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Jeffrey I. Cohen, M.D

Building 50, Room 6134
50 South Drive
Bethesda, MD, 20892-8007
Phone: 301-496-5265
Fax: 301-496-8312

Laboratory of Infectious Diseases

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Jeffrey I. Cohen, M.D.

Photo of Jeffrey I. Cohen

Chief, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases
Chief, Medical Virology Section, LID

Major Areas of Research

  • Pathogenesis of human virus infections in vitro and in vivo
  • Identification of cellular proteins that interact with herpesviruses
  • Development of vaccines against human herpesviruses
  • Studies of new compounds to inhibit herpesvirus infections

Program Description

We study the molecular genetics, pathogenesis, and clinical aspects of human herpesviruses, including Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV). The laboratory focuses on vaccine development, genes important for virus entry and replication, and novel compounds for treatment of herpesvirus infections. Recent findings include development of candidate vaccines for HSV and rhesus EBV; identification of cellular genes that predispose to severe EBV infections; discovery of cells in the blood, other than B cells, that are infected by EBV; and a novel entry molecule for VZV into cells.

Clinical projects complement the laboratory studies. These include studies of patients with severe virus infections to define genetic mutations or polymorphisms associated with the disease, studies of patients with EBV diseases, studies of immune responses in persons after vaccination with the smallpox or varicella vaccines, and attempts to identify novel viruses in patients with unexplained syndromes.


Dr. Cohen received his M.D. from The Johns Hopkins University and was a resident in medicine at Duke University. Following a medical staff fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), he was a clinical fellow in infectious diseases at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in medicine at Harvard University. He returned to NIH, where he was the chief of the Medical Virology Section in the Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases until 2010. In June 2010, Dr. Cohen became chief of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases.


  • American Association of Physicians
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • Former chairman of Virology Interest Group

Editorial Boards

  • Journal of Virology
  • Virology
  • Journal of Infectious Diseases
  • Virus Genes
  • Associate Editor Fields Virology

Research Group

Mir Ali, Wei Bu, Mayra Chavez, Kennichi Dowdell, Lesia Dropulic, Tammy Krogmann, Qingxue Li, Xueqiao Liu, Amber Shatzer, Kenning Wang

Selected Publications

Cohen JI, Fauci AS, Varmus H, Nabel GJ. Epstein-barr virus: an important vaccine target for cancer prevention. Sci Transl Med. 2011 Nov 2;3(107):107fs7.
Read the full article at Science Translational Medicine.

Sashihara J, Hoshino Y, Bowman JJ, Krogmann T, Burbelo PD, Coffield VM, Kamrud K, Cohen JI. Soluble rhesus lymphocryptovirus gp350 protects against infection and reduces viral loads in animals that become infected with virus after challenge. PLoS Pathog. 2011 Oct;7(10):e1002308.

Bowman JJ, Lacayo JC, Burbelo P, Fischer ER, Cohen JI. Rhesus and human cytomegalovirus glycoprotein L are required for infection and cell-to-cell spread of virus but cannot complement each other. J Virol. 2011 Mar;85(5):2089-99.

Calattini S, Sereti I, Scheinberg P, Kimura H, Childs RW, Cohen JI. Detection of EBV genomes in plasmablasts/plasma cells and non-B cells in the blood of most patients with EBV lymphoproliferative disorders by using Immuno-FISH. Blood. 2010 Nov 25;116(22):4546-59.

Hoshino Y, Katano H, Zou P, Hohman P, Marques A, Tyring SK, Follmann D, Cohen JI. Long-term administration of valacyclovir reduces the number of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-infected B cells but not the number of EBV DNA copies per B cell in healthy volunteers. J Virol. 2009 Nov;83(22):11857-61.

Li Q, Ali MA, Cohen JI. Insulin degrading enzyme is a cellular receptor for varicella-zoster virus infection and cell-to-cell spread. Cell. 2006 Oct 20;127(2):305-16.
Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

Last Updated September 17, 2012