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Norman S. Cohn Research Symposium

Please join us for the Norman S. Cohn Research Symposium on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017

Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017

The day-long symposium honors the late Norman S. Cohn, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Environmental & Plant Biology at Ohio University, by bringing together alumni, faculty and students to showcase current research in plant cell and molecular biology. He passed away on June 29, 2016, and alumni joined to plan this event. They established the Norman S. Cohn Research Fellowship in Plant Cell and Molecular Biology in honor of his commitment to undergraduate research.

Symposium participants are invited to present research, either a 20-minute oral presentation or a poster.

Participants also can share memories of Professor Cohn during closing ceremonies. RSVP for the symposium.


8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. | Porter Hall 104, Ohio University

8:30-9:00 a.m. Light breakfast (Registration, Poster set up and Talks loaded)

9:00-9:10 a.m. Welcome and Opening remarks (College of Arts & Sciences Dean Bob Frank, Vice President of Research Joe Shields, PBIO Chair Morgan Vis)

9:10-9:40 a.m. Sarah Wyatt, Professor, Plant Gravitational Signaling: Lessons from Space

9:40-10:10 a.m. Ralph Quatrano, Alumnus, Conservation of Protein Function Across Land Plants

10:10-10:40 a.m. Debarati Basu, Alumna, Mechanical Disturbance at the Plasma Membrane Triggers MSL10 Mediated Cell Death through SGT1/RAR1/HSP90

10:40-11:00 a.m. Morning Break

11:00-11:30 a.m. Stacy Welker, Undergraduate Cohn Fellow, Glucuronosyltransferase (GlcAT) Mutants and Glycosylation of Arabinogalactan-Proteins in Arabidopsis

11:30-12:00 p.m. Dean DellaPenna, Alumnus, Manipulating Plant Metabolism to Benefit Human Health

12:00-1:30 p.m. Lunch (Boyd Dining Hall)

1:30-2:00 p.m. Jie Yang, Alumna, Cerrena Laccase Family and Their Applications in Biodegradation

2:00-2:30 p.m. Bob Goldberg, Alumnus, Seeds of Hope – Back to the Future

2:30-3:00 p.m. Zhihua Hua, Assistant Professor, Deciphering the Role of the Ubiquitin-26S Proteasome System in Plant Development

3:00-4:00 p.m. Posters  (refreshments)

4:00-4:45 p.m. Closing Remarks & Remembrances (Allan Showalter) With contributions by Dan Moran, Ben Holt, Thomas and Chenzhao Vierheller, Ralph Quatrano, and Bob Goldberg

About Professor Norman Cohn

He joined the Ohio University faculty in 1959 after earning a B.S. degree at the University of Pennsylvania, a master's at the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. at Yale. He retired in 1996 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Environmental & Plant Biology at Ohio University, where he had also served as chair of the Botany Department, followed by an 11-year term as dean of the Graduate College. He mentored many graduate students and taught countless undergraduates.

Cohn published numerous articles in the field of radiation genetics and the chemistry of genetic materials as well as two books, one of which, Elements of Cytology, was made available in a Spanish edition. He lectured in the United States, Scotland, England, Italy, and Czechoslovakia and received 14 research grants, including two Fulbright research scholarships to the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

His outgoing personality, passion for teaching, and interest in other cultures led him and his wife, Peggy, to host international students and faculty in their home and at the university. After retiring, he followed both his Ohio University and international students' careers with delight, taking pleasure in their letters, emails, and visits. Cohn's compassion for others manifested in such diverse activities as interceding with students during the 1970 protests and later, after his retirement, becoming part of the Athens Mediation Service.

About the Norman S. Cohn Research Fellowship in Plant Cell and Molecular Biology

Sometimes in college, you meet a professor who ignites a passion within you, changing your life forever. For Ohio University alumni Ralph Quatrano, Bob Goldberg and Dean DellaPenna Jr., that professor was undoubtedly Norman “Norm” S. Cohn.

They established the Norman S. Cohn Research Fellowship in Plant Cell and Molecular Biology in honor of their late mentor and friend. The fellowship will benefit an undergraduate student enrolled in the university with a clear academic focus on plant cellular and molecular biology. The student must be conducting research during the summer semester and have a minimum GPA of at least 3.0.

Contact Us

For more information about the symposium, contact the Environmental & Plant Biology Department at

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