Professor Sir Philip Cohen

FRS FRSE FAA FFMedSci

Research Professor

MRC PPU, School of Life Sciences

Portrait photo of Philip Cohen
On this page

Contact

Email

p.cohen@dundee.ac.uk

Phone

+44 (0)1382 388446

Locations

James Black Centre

Websites

Cohen Lab

Research

Bacterial and viral infections activate the signal transduction networks that regulate the innate immune system, and trigger the production of inflammatory mediators to combat these pathogens. Understanding these signalling networks is important, not just because it may lead to the development of improved drugs to fight infection, but also because failure to control the production of inflammatory mediators causes major global diseases, such as arthritis, asthma, colitis, fibrosis, lupus, psoriasis and sepsis.

My group studies the activation and output of these signalling networks, and we also aim to identify which components are attractive drug targets for the treatment of disease. Another focus is to understand the interplay between protein phosphorylation and protein ubiquitylation in regulating the innate immune system, which we tackle by using a range of state-of-the-art techniques that include molecular, cellular and chemical biology, protein chemistry, mass spectrometry and mouse genetics.

Recently, we have made several unexpected discoveries. First, that hybrid ubiquitin chains containing several linkage types play critical roles in regulating innate immune signalling networks; second that the essential roles of TRAF6 in initiating innate immune signalling are independent of its E3 ligase activity; third that the HOIL-1 component of the Linear Ubiquitin Assembly Complex (LUBAC) is a remarkable E3 ligase that attaches ubiquitin to serine and threonine residues in proteins by forming ester bonds. Current projects are focused on understanding how the HOIL-1 E3 ligase controls innate immune signalling, why the SIK family of protein kinases are required for pro-inflammatory cytokine production, and why the TRAF6 E3 ligase restricts T cell activation. We are also studying how the ubiquitin-binding protein ABIN1 restricts activation of the MyD88-IRAK4-IRAK1 signaling axis to prevent lupus, and dissecting the TLR3 signaling network, which is critical for protection against Herpes Simplex Virus Encephalitis, a devasting disease of the central nervous system in young children.

View full research profile and publications

Stories

Research interests

Signaling Networks in the Innate Immune System

Awards

Award Year
Major Personal Funding Awards / Wellcome Investigator Award 2018
Honorary Degrees / Honorary Doctor of Science, University Autonoma, Madrid 2016
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / Corresponding Member, Australian Academy of Sciences 2014
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Albert Einstein World Award of Science , World Cultural Council 2014
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / MRC Millenium Medal 2013
Major Personal Funding Awards / Wellcome Investigator Award 2012
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Scottish Enterprise Award for Leading Individual Achievement in the Life Sciences in Scotland 2009
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2008
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Royal Medal of The Royal Society 2008
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / Rolf Luft Award, Karoslinka Institute, Sweden 2006
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / Debrecen Award for Molecular Medicine, University of Debrecen, Hungary 2004
Honorary Degrees / Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Debrecen, Hungary 2004
Honorary Degrees / Honorary Doctorate of Medicine, University of Linkoping 2004
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Royal Medal of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 2004
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Bristol Myers Squibb Distinguished Achievement Award in Metabolic Research, USA 2002
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Sir Hans Krebs Medal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies 2001
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Pfizer Award for Innovative Science in Europe 1999
Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences 1998
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Croonian Prize Lecture of the Royal Society of London 1998
Fellows of Learned Societies and Colleges / Honorary D.Sc University of Abertay 1998
Knights Bachelor of the British Empire 1998
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland 1997
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Datta Medal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies 1997
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / The CIBA Medal and Prize of the British Biochemical Society 1993
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Bruce Preller Prize of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1993
International Science Prizes awarded since 1990 / The Prix van Gysel of the Belgian Royal Academies of Medicine 1992
Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1984
Members of the European Molecular Biology Organisation 1982