Raphael (Raffi) Cohn is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Oliver Hobert at Columbia University. He earned his bachelor’s degrees in cognitive science and computer science from the University of Pennsylvania and his master’s degree in the mathematical foundations of computer science from Oxford University. He went on to complete his Ph.D. with Dr. Vanessa Ruta in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology and Behavior at the Rockefeller University, where he studied how neural circuits give rise to behavioral flexibility in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). His thesis work helped to elucidate a mechanism by which dopamine mediates plasticity at specific synapses in the Drosophila brain to change the animal’s behavioral response to odors based on context and previous experience.
In recognition of this work, Cohn received awards including the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, the Elkins Memorial Lecture Award and the David Rockefeller Fellowship. His current work focuses on the development of neural circuits in the nematode worm (C. elegans). Specifically, he is investigating the transcriptional control of genes involved in the wiring decisions that are necessary for proper circuit function.