Melvin Cohn

Professor Emeritus

Conceptual Immunology Group

Melvin Cohn
Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Melvin Cohn


Melvin Cohn was a founding fellow of the Salk Institute, who conducted pioneering studies on the immune system.


Cohn, a founding and resident fellow of the Salk Institute, studied the body’s immune response, which protects vertebrates from the lethal effects of pathogens. Though the immune system cannot predict which of the diverse array of pathogens it will encounter, it nevertheless must respond promptly to defend the host organism from that invader. His investigations were theoretical and dealt with the evolutionary selection pressures that shape the immune system. A major thrust of his work has been the creation of a computer simulation of immune responses using the principles of nested cellular automata and adapting them to programs that can be run on typical desktop computers or on a remote Internet server.


BS, Physics, City College of New York
MA, Chemistry of Proteins, Columbia University
PhD, Biochemistry, New York University
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France