Philip Cohen received his B.Sc (1966) and Ph.D (1969) from University College London and then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA with Edmond Fischer (the 1992 Nobel Laureate for Medicine or Physiology). In 1971 he returned to the UK to become a Faculty member at the University of Dundee, Scotland where he has worked ever since. Philip was a Royal Society Research Professor from 1984 to 2010, Director of the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation Unit from 1990 to 2012 and Director of the SCottish Institute for ceLL Signalling (SCILLS) from 2008 to 2012. Philip was the Co-Director of the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT), Europe's largest collaboration between a basic research institution and the pharmaceutical industry from 1998 to 2012 and has been Deputy Director since 2012. The DSST is widely regarded as a model for effective interaction between industry and academia, for which it received a Queen’s Anniversary Award for Higher Educaton in 2006.
For the past 45 years, Philip’s research has been devoted to studying the role of protein phosphorylation in cell regulation and human disease, a process that controls almost all aspects of cell life. His contributions to this topic include working out the signaling pathway downstream of PI 3-kinase by which insulin stimulates glycogen synthesis in muscle, identifying and characterizing the major serine/threonine-specific protein phosphatases and how they are regulated, and elucidating the MAP kinase cascades. Currently his laboratory is unravel the signaling networks in the innate immune system that control the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and interferons during bacterial and viral infection, where the interplay between protein ubiquitylation and protein phosphorylation plays a critical role. According to Thomson Scientific, Philadelphia, Philip was the world’s second most cited scientist in the field of biology and biochemistry from 1992-2003, and the world’s most cited biochemist from 1999-2009.