Steven M. Cohn, MD, PhD

Steven M. Cohn, MD, PhD

CohnS head Steven  M.  Cohn
Degree(s): MD/PhD
Graduate School: Washington University, St. Louis (MD, fellowship); Barnes Hospital (residency)
Primary Appointment: Professor, Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Research Interests:
Mucosal injury and healing in inflammatory bowel disease, carcinogenesis, GI development
Email Address:

Research Description

Dr. Cohn's research is centered on understanding communication between the immune system and the epithelium in inflammatory bowel disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases of the intestine. A major focus of his research is on understanding how cytokines, growth factors, and other inflammatory mediators regulate the fate of epithelial stem cells and their descendents in the intestine following injury. These studies may have a great impact on the development of new therapeutic approaches to enhance restoration of the mucosal barrier in diseases such as Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis.

Another area of investigation for Dr. Cohn is understanding how prostaglandins and other inflammatory mediators effect the development of cancer in the intestine. When injured by carcinogens in the food we eat, epithelial stem cells may either undergo apoptosis or attempt to repair the damage that these compounds cause. Evidence is emerging that prostaglandins and inflammatory cytokines may regulate which pathway a stem cell takes after carcinogen exposure. The objective of this area of research is to develop new chemopreventive agents for reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer by shifting the balance between apoptosis and cellular repair pathways in the epithelial stem cell population.

Dr. Cohn is also a member of the Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research.

Selected Publications

Brodrick B, Vidrich A, Porter E, Bradley L, Buzan JM, Cohn SM. Fibroblastgrowth factor receptor-3 (FGFR-3) regulates expression of paneth celllineage-specific genes in intestinal epithelial cells through bothTCF4/beta-catenin-dependent and -independent signaling pathways. J Biol Chem.2011 May 27;286(21):18515-25. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.229252. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

Sturgill TW, Stoddard PB, Cohn SM, Mayo MW. The promoter for intestinal cellkinase is head-to-head with F-Box 9 and contains functional sites for TCF7L2 and FOXA factors. Mol Cancer. 2010 May 11;9:104. doi: 10.1186/1476-4598-9-104.

Becker SM, Cho KN, Guo X, Fendig K, Oosman MN, Whitehead R, Cohn SM, Houpt ER.Epithelial cell apoptosis facilitates Entamoeba histolytica infection in the gut.Am J Pathol. 2010 Mar;176(3):1316-22. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.090740. Epub 2010 Jan 21.

Fu Z, Kim J, Vidrich A, Sturgill TW, Cohn SM. Intestinal cell kinase, a MAPkinase-related kinase, regulates proliferation and G1 cell cycle progression ofintestinal epithelial cells. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009Oct;297(4):G632-40. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00066.2009. Epub 2009 Aug 20.

Vidrich A, Buzan JM, Brodrick B, Ilo C, Bradley L, Fendig KS, Sturgill T, CohnSM. Fibroblast growth factor receptor-3 regulates Paneth cell lineage allocation and accrual of epithelial stem cells during murine intestinal development. Am JPhysiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009 Jul;297(1):G168-78. doi:10.1152/ajpgi.90589.2008. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Barnes SL, Vidrich A, Wang ML, Wu GD, Cominelli F, Rivera-Nieves J, Bamias G, Cohn SM. Resistin-like molecule beta (RELMbeta/FIZZ2) is highly expressed in the ileum of SAMP1/YitFc mice and is associated with initiation of ileitis. JImmunol. 2007 Nov 15;179(10):7012-20.

Fu Z, Larson KA, Chitta RK, Parker SA, Turk BE, Lawrence MW, Kaldis P,Galaktionov K, Cohn SM, Shabanowitz J, Hunt DF, Sturgill TW. Identification ofyin-yang regulators and a phosphorylation consensus for male germ cell-associatedkinase (MAK)-related kinase. Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Nov;26(22):8639-54. Epub 2006Sep 5.

Olson TS, Reuter BK, Scott KG, Morris MA, Wang XM, Hancock LN, Burcin TL, CohnSM, Ernst PB, Cominelli F, Meddings JB, Ley K, Pizarro TT. The primary defect in experimental ileitis originates from a nonhematopoietic source. J Exp Med. 2006Mar 20;203(3):541-52. Epub 2006 Feb 27.

Vidrich A, Buzan JM, Barnes S, Reuter BK, Skaar K, Ilo C, Cominelli F, PizarroT, Cohn SM. Altered epithelial cell lineage allocation and global expansion ofthe crypt epithelial stem cell population are associated with ileitis inSAMP1/YitFc mice. Am J Pathol. 2005 Apr;166(4):1055-67.

Vidrich A, Buzan JM, Ilo C, Bradley L, Skaar K, Cohn SM. Fibroblast growthfactor receptor-3 is expressed in undifferentiated intestinal epithelial cellsduring murine crypt morphogenesis. Dev Dyn. 2004 May;230(1):114-23.

PubMed Listings for this Faculty Member

Contact Information

Office Address: PO Box 800708, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0708

Office Phone: 434-243-2718

Fax Phone: 434-924-0491