Jon Cohen is a widely published magazine writer and author of four nonfiction books on scientific topics. Cohen has been a reporter for Science since 1990, and also has written for the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Technology Review, Outside, Slate, Surfer and many other publications.
Cohen specializes in biomedicine, and is widely known for his coverage of HIV/AIDS, immunology, vaccines, and global health. He also has reported extensively on genetics, primate research, evolution, bioterrorism, research funding, ethics, reproductive biology, credit battles, and the media itself. His books include Shots in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine (W.W. Norton, 2001), Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), Almost Chimpanzee: Redrawing the Lines the Separate Us from Them (Holt/Times Books, 2010), and Tomorrow Is a Long Time: Tijuana’s Unchecked HIV/AIDS Epidemic, a photo essay book with photographer Malcolm Linton (Daylight, 2015) that has an accompanying documentary series on UCTV. Cohen has done mini-documentaries for Science and SlateV, and contributed to “Ending AIDS,” a PBS documentary based on Shots in the Dark. In 2016, he coordinated a multi-media project on efforts to end AIDS epidemics with Science, PBS NewsHour, BuzzFeed, and UCTV.
Cohen’s articles twice have been selected for the Best American Science and Nature Writing (2008 and 2011). His books and articles have won awards from the National Association of Science Writers, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, the American Society for Microbiology, the Global Health Council, the Pan American Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, the Treatment Action Group, and the Gaia Vaccine Foundation. He has received grants from the Ford Foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, Open Society Foundation, John D. Evans Foundation, Global Health Strategies, and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He has appeared on several national TV and radio programs, including the PBS NewsHour, Today, Larry King Now, and NPR’s Fresh Air, Marketplace, and All Things Considered.
Like every journalist, Cohen has had to wrestle with his share of rejection, including this letter he received near the start of his career after submitting an unsolicited article to San Diego Magazine.
Cohen earned a B.A. in science writing from the University of California, San Diego (1981), and lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California with his wife, TV producer Shannon Bradley, and their children. (Photo: Malcolm Linton)