Cohen elected to Institute of Medicine

October 15, 2012
Dr. Myron Cohen

Dr. Myron Cohen

Myron S. Cohen, MD, J. Herbert Bate Distinguished Professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology in the UNC School of Medicine and professor of epidemiology in UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Cohen, who is also UNC associate vice chancellor for global health, is among 70 new members announced by IOM on Oct. 15. Members are elected in recognition of outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

UNC Hospitals admitted its first AIDS patient, a man with hemophilia, in 1981, only a year after Cohen’s arrival at UNC. For the next 30 years, Cohen’s research focused on the transmission and prevention of transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. With a team of investigators at UNC, he 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 the HIV virus.

He is the architect and principal investigator of the multinational HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 052 trial, which demonstrated that antiretroviral treatment prevents the sexual transmission of HIV. This work was recognized by Science magazine as the “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2011.
Cohen serves on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of AIDS Research Advisory Board, the NIH AIDS Research Advisory Council, and the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEFAR) Scientific Advisory Board. He is co-principal investigator of the NIH HIV Prevention Trials Network.
At UNC, he has served as chief of the division of infectious diseases since 1990. Much of his research has been conducted internationally, especially in Malawi and China, and in 2007, he was named founding director of the new UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases. In 2005, he received the Thomas Parran Award for lifetime achievement in STD research from the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association. He was the 2008 recipient of the O. Max Gardner Award, the highest honor in the University of North Carolina 16-campus system.
Also elected from UNC this year was Terry R. Magnuson, PhD, Sarah Graham Kenan Professor and chair of the Department of Genetics, and vice dean for research in the School of Medicine.The IOM, part of the National Academies, has 1,928 members including, with the addition of Cohen and Magnuson, 21 from UNC. Current members elect new members from among candidates nominated for their accomplishments and contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. Members commit to volunteer on institute committees, which carry out a broad range of studies on health policy issues.

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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Linda Kastleman, communications editor, (919) 966-8317 or