- Edwin Joseph Cohn
Edwin Joseph Cohn (
17 December 1892– 1 October 1953) was an early protein scientist. A graduate of Phillips Academy, Andover  , and the University of Chicago [1914, PhD 1917] , he made important advances in the physical chemistryof proteins, and was responsible for the blood fractionationproject that saved thousands of lives in World War II.
Liver juice fractionation and concentration for treatment of pernicious anemia
In 1928, while at Harvard, Cohn was able to concentrate, by a factor of 50 to 100 times, the vital factor in raw liver juice which had been shown by Minot and Murphy to be the only known specific treatment for
pernicious anemia. Cohn's contribution allowed practical treatment of this previously incurable and fatal illness, for the next 20 years. [ http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.com/pdf%2F8106%2F8106sv.pdf Accessed Jan 21, 2008]
Blood fractionation project
Cohn became famous for his work on
blood fractionationduring World War II. In particular, he worked out the techniques for isolating the serum albuminfraction of blood plasma, which is essential for maintaining the osmotic pressure in the blood vessels, preventing their collapse. Transfusions with purified albumin on the battlefield rescued thousands of soldiers from shock.
After the war, Cohn worked to develop systems by which every component of donated
bloodwould be used, so that nothing would be wasted. On Cohn's office blackboard was inscribed a quotation from Goethe's Faust: "Das Blut ist ein ganz besonderer Saft." (Blood is a very special liquid.)
Physical chemistry of proteins
Cohn is also well-remembered for his studies of the physical chemistry of proteins, particularly his general "salting out" equation for protein solubility (1925)
where is the protein
solubility constantand and are constants characteristic of the particular ionS whose concentration (or, more correctly, activity) is [S] .
Cohn was a long-time collaborator and friend of another important physical chemist,
A most important book
In 1943, Cohn and John Edsall published "Proteins, Amino Acids and Peptides", a book that summarized the known physical chemistry of proteins and deeply influenced succeeding generations of protein scientists.
Cohn was an excellent project leader, being driven, ambitious, and extremely well-organized. He also had a keen taste in people and scientific projects and could sense when either would be successful. The success of the blood fractionation project was due in great part to his management, and he can be considered responsible for saving thousands of lives.
Cohn was also selfless in the best (and worst) scientific tradition. For example, he would often give public demonstrations of the blood fractionation machine, in which he would fractionate his own blood on the stage during the lecture. In one such lecture, at the
Instituto Superior Technicoin Lisbon, the machine became blocked (without Cohn's knowledge) and exploded, showering the first few rows of the audience with Cohn's blood. Cohn maintained his " sangfroid", however, and continued his lecture without significant interruption. More generally, Cohn drove himself relentlessly and ignored his doctors' advice to cut back on working because of his high blood pressure (which finally killed him).
However, Cohn was also well-known for being harsh and demanding of his subordinates, being something of a
Edwin J. Cohn was born on 17 December 1892 in New York City to Abraham and Maimie Einstein Cohn.
Cohn died on 1 October 1953 in Boston, of a stroke brought on by
hypertensioncaused by an undiagnosed pheochromocytoma.
* Cohn EJ. (1925) "The Physical Chemistry of the Proteins", "Physiol. Rev.", 5, 349-437.
* Cohn EJ and Edsall JT. (1943) "Proteins, Amino Acids and Peptides as Ions and Dipolar Ions", Reinhold Publishing, New York.
* Starr D. (1998) "Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce", Quill. ISBN 0-688-17649-6
* Surgenor DM (2002) "Edwin Cohn and the Development of Protein Chemistry", Center for Blood Research and Harvard Medical School. ISBN 0-674-00962-2
* Cohen FS. (2003) "Book Review: Edwin Cohn and the Development of Protein Chemistry", "New England Journal of Medicine", 349, 511-512.
* [http://www.pbs.org/wnet/redgold/innovators/bio_cohn.html PBS biography] written by
John Tileston Edsall
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
COHN, EDWIN JOSEPH — (1892–1953), U.S. biochemist. Born in New York, Cohn became professor of biological chemistry at Harvard and head of the department in 1938. Cohn s fields of research were the chemistry of the liver, plasma, and other tissue proteins. He… … Encyclopedia of Judaism
Cohn, Edwin Joseph — born Dec. 17, 1892, New York, N.Y, U.S. died Oct. 1, 1953, Boston, Mass. U.S. biochemist. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and taught at Harvard 1922–53. He studied the components of protein molecules, correlating their… … Universalium
Cohn, Edwin Joseph — (17 dic. 1892, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–1 oct. 1953, Boston, Mass.). Bioquímico estadounidense. Obtuvo su Ph.D. en la Universidad de Chicago y enseñó en Harvard de 1922–53. Estudió los componentes de las moléculas proteicas, correlacionando sus… … Enciclopedia Universal
Cohn — ist ein jüdischer Familienname. Herkunft und Bedeutung Der Name geht auf die Bezeichnung einer Gruppierung mit priesterlichen Funktionen im Judentum zurück, siehe Kohanim; zu Varianten, siehe Cohen. Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Edwin Cohn — Edwin Joseph Cohn, biochimiste américain (New York : 17 déc 1892 Boston : 1 oct 1953) a mis au point la première méthode de fractionnement du plasma sanguin en divers constituants. Il s agit d une technique de précipitations successives … Wikipédia en Français
Cohn — /kohn/, n. 1. Edwin Joseph, 1892 1953, U.S. chemist and researcher on blood proteins. 2. Ferdinand Julius /ferr dn and joohl yeuhs/; Ger. /ferdd di nahnt yooh lee oos /, 1828 98, German botanist and bacteriologist. * * * (as used in expressions)… … Universalium
Cohn — (as used in expressions) Cohn, Edwin Joseph Cohn, Ferdinand (Julius) Cohn, Harry … Enciclopedia Universal
Edwin — /ed win/, n. 1. Also, Eadwine. A.D. 585? 633, king of Northumbria 617 633. 2. a male given name: from Old English words meaning rich, happy and friend. * * * (as used in expressions) Julian Edwin Adderley Aldrin Edwin Eugene Jr. Armstrong Edwin… … Universalium
Edwin — (as used in expressions) Julian Edwin Adderley Aldrin, Edwin Eugene, Jr. Armstrong, Edwin H(oward) Bessey, Charles E(dwin) Birkenhead, Frederick Edwin Smith, 1 conde de Booth, Edwin (Thomas) Church, Frederic Edwin Cohn, Edwin Joseph Hubble, Edwin … Enciclopedia Universal
Joseph — /joh zeuhf, seuhf/, n. 1. Jacob s eleventh son, the first of Jacob and his second wife, Rachel: sold into slavery by his brothers. Gen. 30:22 24; 37. 2. the husband of Mary who was the mother of Jesus. Matt. 1:16 25. 3. (Hinmaton yalaktit), c1840 … Universalium