Mildred Cohn (July 12, 1913 – October 12, 2009) was an American biochemist who used nuclear magnetic resonance to study Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). She received the National Medal of Science.
Cohn graduated from high school at 14 and went on to receive her Bachelor's cum laude from Hunter College in 1931. She spent a year earning her master's in 1932 from Columbia University, then worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics for two years. She subsequently returned to Columbia, where she wrote her dissertation on oxygen isotopes and earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1938. Cohn conducted post-doctoral studies on sulfur-amino acid metabolism using radioactive sulfur isotopes in the laboratory of Vincent du Vigneaud at George Washington University. Cohn joined the University of Pennsylvania as an associate professor in 1960. In 1982, she retired from the faculty as the Benjamin Rush Professor Emerita of Physiological Chemistry.
Cohn wrote 160 papers, mostly on her primary research subject of using nuclear magnetic resonance to study ATP. She won the Garvan-Olin Medal and the National Medal of Science in 1982. She was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1975.
During her career, Cohn achieved several gender firsts: She was the first woman to be appointed to the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, where she served as editor from 1958-63 and from 1968-73. She was also the first woman to become president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the first female career investigator for the American Heart Association. In 2009, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.
Mildred Cohn was married to physicist Henry Primakoff from 1946 until his death in 1983.
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