Pinchas Cohen was formally installed as the dean of the Davis School of Gerontology last week in a ceremony held at Town & Gown.
Cohen is also the executive director of the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center and holder of the William and Sylvia Kugel Dean’s chair.
He previously held the position of Vice Chair for Research at the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and was also the co-director of the UCSD/UCLA Diabetes Research Center and a professor at UCLA.
He has focused his research on mitochondrial biology and co-founded CohBar, a company that develops mitochondrial peptides to treat diabetes.
The ceremony, attended by staff, faculty and Cohen’s friends and family, began with a processional of USC’s academic deans and other USC officials, including trustees Verna B. Dauterive, Carol Campbell Fox and Robert Padgett; and other administrators including Provost Elizabeth Garrett, Al Checcio, senior vice president for university advancement, and Robert Abeles, senior vice president of finance and Chief Financial Officer.
“The Talmud says, ‘For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest,’” President C. L. Max Nikias said during the ceremony. “In Dr. Cohen, we welcome a distinguished leader who will ensure the USC Davis School enjoys a season of harvest.”
Cohen gave a speech discussing the history of Davis and thanking everyone who aided his transition to USC.
“My fellow Trojans — it feels good to say that — I am delighted to begin this journey alongside you,” Cohen said. “Gerontology is the story of us all, and I can think of no cause nobler — or more necessary.”
Cohen said he thinks the future of the field includes initiatives in digital aging, which uses social media and other technologies to find aging solutions, and personalized aging, looks at genetic factors to tailor medical care to individuals.
Nikias also presented Cohen with a cherrywood replica of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed chair as a gift to honor his acceptance of the Kugel Dean’s Chair.
“Dr. Cohen was the perfect choice to lead the USC Davis School of Gerontology,” Nikias said. “As a result, we will see a school infused with youthful vigor that will never grow old, even as the school grows older.”