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Noam Cohen


Adjunct Member, Monell Chemical Senses Center
Professor, Division of Rhinology, Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Staff Surgeon, Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center


M.D., Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D., Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University

Research Summary

The main interest of my lab is the pathophysiology of chronic rhinosinusitis, a syndrome that effects nearly 15% of the population manifesting in poor mucus clearance from the upper airways. To better understand the root cause of this syndrome, the focus of my laboratory has been on sinonasal epithelial function in the context of innate defense mechanisms, specifically mucociliary clearance and alterations in respiratory cilia function in response to microbial interaction and mucosal biofilm formation. To this end we have well-established and published techniques for growing both upper and lower respiratory epithelium from humans, visualizing and quantifying respiratory cilia function, live cell imaging to ascertain real time alterations in signaling cascades such as intracellular calcium and nitric oxide as well as other cellular properties (e.g. intra- and extra- cellular pH and cellular redox states), mucus clearance and hydration and techniques for growing and studying several respiratory pathogens. Most recently we have focused on the role that taste receptors, which are expressed in respiratory epithelium, play in upper airway innate immunity. The overall goal of my work, both in the clinical and research realms, focuses on understanding and treating disorders of the nose and paranasal sinuses. It is through this balance of clinical expertise and biological investigation that I hope to advance the care of rhinologic patients.


Rhinosinusitis, cilia, taste receptors, innate immunity

Recent Publications

Lee, R.J., Kofonow, J.M., Rosen, P.L., Siebert, A.P., Chen, B., Doghramji, L., Xiong, G., Adappa, N.D., Palmer, J.N., Kennedy, D.W., Kreindler, J.L., Margolskee, R.F., Cohen, N.A. Bitter and sweet taste receptor regulation of human upper respiratory innate immunity. J Clin Invest 124(3):1393-405 (2014).

Adappa, A.D., Zhang, Z., Palmer, J.N., Kennedy, D.W., Doghramji, L., Lysenko, A., Reed, D.R., Scott, T., Zhao, N.W., Owens, D., Lee, R.J., Cohen, N.A. The Bitter Taste Receptor T2R38 is an Independent Risk Factor for Chronic Rhinosinusitis Requiring Sinus Surgery. Int Forum of Allergy and Rhinology 4(1):3-7 (2014).

Lee, R.J., Chen, B., Redding, K.M., Margolskee, R.F., Cohen, N.A. Mouse nasal epithelial innate immune responses to Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum-sensing molecules require taste signaling components. Innate Immunity 20(6):606-617 (2013).

Adappa, A.D., Howland, T.J., Palmer, J.N., Kennedy, D.W., Doghramji, L., Lysenko, A., Reed, D.R., Lee, R.J., Cohen, N.A. Genetics of the Taste Receptor T2R38 Correlates with Chronic Rhinosinusitis Necessitating Surgical Intervention. Int Forum of Allergy and Rhinology. 3(3):84-7 (2013).

Lee, R.J., Xiong, G., Kofonow, J.M., Chen, B., Lysenko, A., Jiang, P., Abraham, V., Doghramji, L., Adappa, N.D., Palmer, J.N., Kennedy, D.W., Beauchamp, G.K., Paschalis-Thomas, D., Ischiropoulos, H., Kreindler, J.L., Reed, D.R., Cohen, N.A. T2R38 taste receptor polymorphisms underlie susceptibility to upper respiratory infection. J Clin Invest 122(11):4145-59 (2012). *Commentary: Prince, A. (2012). “The Bitter Taste of Infection.” J Clin Invest. 122:3847-3849. *Highlight article: Bordon, Y. (2012). “Bitter Enemies.” Nature Rev Immunol. 12:746-747.