Adam Cohen

Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Harvard University
Mallikcrodt Building, Room 115
12 Oxford St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-496-9466

Lab Size: Between 10 and 15


My lab develops new physical tools to study molecules and cells, and we apply these tools to make new measurements. We combine nanofabrication, optics, microfluidics, electronics, and biochemistry to generate data; and we apply statistics and physical modeling to understand the data. Current projects include: development of nanofabricated devices for trapping and studying single biomolecules in free solution; development of fluorescent voltage-indicating proteins; studies on optical spectroscopy in highly contorted electromagnetic fields; experiments on magnetically sensitive photochemical reactions; and studies of the mechanochemistry of biological hydrogels.


M. P. Chien, C. A. Werley, S. L. Farhi, A. E. Cohen, “Photostick: a method for selective isolation of target cells from culture,” Chem. Sci. 6, 1701-1705 (2015)

J. H. Hou, J. M. Kralj, A. D. Douglass, F. Engert, A. E. Cohen, “Simultaneous mapping of membrane voltage and calcium in zebrafish heart in vivo reveals chamber-specific developmental transitions in ionic currents,” Frontiers in Physiology: Cardiac Electrophysiology, 5, 344 (2014)

D. Hochbaum*, Y. Zhao*, S. Farhi, N. Klapoetke, C. A. Werley, V. Kapoor, P. Zou, J. M. Kralj, D. Maclaurin, N. Smedemark-Margulies, J. Saulnier, G. L. Boulting, C. Straub, Y.K. Cho, M. Melkonian, G. K-S. Wong, D. J. Harrison, V. Murthy, B. Sabatini, E. S. Boyden, R. E. Campbell, A. E. Cohen, “All optical electrophysiology in mammalian neurons using engineered microbial rhodopsins,” Nature Methods, 11, 825-833 (2014)

J. Kralj, D. R. Hochbaum, A. D. Douglass, A. E. Cohen, “Electrical spiking in Escherichia coli probed with a fluorescent voltage-indicating protein,” Science, 333, 345-348 (2011)

Y. Tang and A. E. Cohen, “Enhanced enantioselectivity in excitation of chiral molecules by superchiral light,” Science, 332, 333-336 (2011)