Michael Cohen


Dr. Mike Cohen
Michael Cohen


(707) 664-3413


Darwin 222

Office Hours

1:00 pm-2:30 pm by appointment
3:30 pm-5:00 pm via Zoom

Reserve time slots using this calendar. My Zoom Link.


Ph.D. University of California (Davis), 1996

Postdoctoral Experience:
Veterans Administration Hospital (Sepulveda, CA), University of Ryukyus (Okinawa, Japan), USDA-Agricultural Research Service (Wenatchee, WA).

Research Interests:
Environmental microbiology, Biological wastewater treatment, Plant-microbe interactions, Nitric oxide biology; Bioremediation; Vermifiltration; Azolla

Research Program:
My research group studies the biology of a diverse array of environmental microbes in natural and human-engineered environments. Research carried out in conjunction with scientists in the US and abroad includes investigations into: the lignocellulose-degrading capacity of an alkaline tolerant Cellulomonas bacterium isolated from an ultra-basic spring within The Cedars, an actively serpentinizing geologic habitat in Sonoma County; bacterial communities that inhabit serpentine rock crevices; the rapid root abscission response of the fern-cyanobacterium holobiont Azolla; and the design and testing of efficient systems for integrated bioremediation and bioenergy production in the treatment of municipal and agro-industrial wastewaters and contaminated natural waters.

Course Offerings:
BIOL 115 - Introduction to Biology
BIOL 325 - Molecular and Cellular Lab Techniques
BIOL 338 - Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology
BIOL 340 - General Bacteriology
BIOL 490 - Research Experience
BIOL 497 - Microbiomes

Selected Publications & Presentations

Zheng X, Wang L, You L, Liu YX, Cohen M, Tian S, Li W, Li X (2022) Dietary licorice enhances in vivo cadmium detoxification and modulates gut microbial metabolism in mice. iMeta, 2022:e7.

Wang L, Chen M, Chen L, Zheng X, Cohen MF, Li X (2021) Cross-kingdom comparative transcriptomics reveals conserved genetic modules in response to Cd stress. Msystems, 6(6), e01189-21.

Cohen MF, Kubota CM, Quintero Plancarte G, Kainuma M (2021) Biological polishing of liquid and biogas effluents from wastewater treatment systems. In: Integrated and hybrid technology for water and wastewater treatment. Ang WL, Mohammad A., Eds., Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 87-98.

Khilyas IV, Sorokina AV, Markelova MI, Belenikin M, Shafigullina L, Tukhbatova RI, Shagimardanova EI, Blom J, Sharipova MR, Cohen MF (2020) Genomic and phenotypic analysis of siderophore-producing Rhodococcus qingshengii strain S10 isolated from an arid weathered serpentine rock environment. Arch Microbiol, doi: 10.1007/s00203-020-02057-w

Kamennaya N, Gray J, Ito S, Kainuma M, Nguyen MV, Khilyas IV, Birarda G, Bernie F, Hunt M, Vasadia D, Lin J, Holman H-Y, Torok T, Cohen MF (2020) Deconstruction of plant biomass by a Cellulomonas strain isolated from an ultra-basic (lignin-stripping) spring. Arch Microbiol 202(5):1077-1084. DOI 10.1007/s00203-020-01816-z

Khilyas IV, Sorokina AV, Elistratova AA, Markelova MI, Siniagina MN, Sharipova MR, Shcherbakova TA, D’Errico ME, Cohen MF (2019) Microbial diversity and mineral composition of weathered serpentine rock of the Khalilovsky massif. PLoS One. 2019, 14(12):e0225929 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0225929

Yamasaki H, Ogura M, Katsumi Kingjoe K, Cohen MF (2019) D-cysteine-induced rapid root abscission in the water fern Azolla pinnata: Implications for the linkage between D-amino acid and reactive sulfur species (RSS) in plant environmental responses. Antioxidants 2019, 8(9), 411.

Khilyas, IV, Sorokin, AA, Kiseleva, L, Simpson DJ, Fedorovich V, Sharipova, MR, Kainuma M, Cohen MF and Goryanin I, (2017). Comparative metagenomic analysis of electrogenic microbial communities in differentially inoculated swine wastewater-fed microbial fuel cells. Scientifica, 2017: Article ID 7616359.

Mazzola M, Agostini A, Cohen MF (2017) Incorporation of Brassica seed meal soil amendment and wheat cultivation for control of Macrophomina phaseolina in strawberry. Eur. J. Plant Path. 149(1): 57-71.

Yamasaki H, Cohen MF (2016) Biological consilience of hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide in plants: Gases of primordial earth linking plant, microbial and animal physiologies. Nitric Oxide. 55-5691-100.

Johnston SF, Cohen MF, Torok T, Meentemeyer RK, Rank NE (2016) Host phenology and leaf effects on susceptibility of California bay laurel to Phytophthora ramorum. Phytopathology 106(1):47-55.

Yamasaki H, Watanabe NS, Sakihama Y, Cohen MF (2016) An overview of methods in plant NO research: Why do we always need to use multiple methods? In: Methods in molecular biology: Plant nitric oxide research: methods & protocols. KJ Gupta Ed. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. 1424:1-14.

Kiseleva L, Garushyants SK, Ma H, Simpson DJW, Fedorovich V, Cohen MF, Goryanin I (2015) Taxonomic and functional metagenomic analysis of anodic communities in two pilot-scale microbial fuel cells treating different industrial wastewaters. J Integr Bioinform 12(1):273, 2015.

Cohen MF, Gurung S, Birarda G, Holman H-Y, Yamasaki H (2015) Bimodal effect of hydrogen peroxide and oxidative events in nitrite-induced rapid root abscission by the water fern Azolla pinnata. Frontiers Plant Sci 6:00158.

Kiseleva L, Garushyants SK, Briliute J, Simpson DJW, Cohen MF, Goryanin I (2015) Genome sequence of the electrogenic petroleum-degrading Thalassospira sp. strain HJ. Genome Announc 3(3):e00483-15.

Cohen MF, Hu P, Nguyen MV, Kamennaya N, Brown N, Woyke T, Kyrpides N, Holman HY, Torok T (2015) Genome sequence of the alkaline-tolerant Cellulomonas sp. strain FA1. Genome Announc 3(3):e00646-15.

Cohen MF, Gurung S, Fukuto JM, Yamasaki H (2014) Controlled free radical attack in the apoplast: A hypothesis for roles of O, N and S species in regulatory and polysaccharide cleavage events during rapid abscission by Azolla. Plant Sci 217–218:120–126.

Gurung S, Cohen MF, Yamasaki H (2014) Azide-dependent nitric oxide emission from the water fern Azolla pinnata. Russ J Plant Physiol 61(4):543-547.

Yamasaki H, Watanabe NS, Fukuto J, Cohen MF (2014) Nitrite-dependent nitric oxide production pathway: diversity of NO production systems. In: Oxidative Stress in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice - Pediatric Disorders, H Tsukahara, K Kaneko, RH Steinhorn, Eds., Springer-Verlag, New York, p. 35-54.

Cohen MF, Hare C, Kozlowski J, McCormick RS, Chen L, Schneider L, Parish M, Knight Z, Nelson TA, Grewell B (2013) Wastewater polishing by a channelized macrophyte-dominated wetland and anaerobic digestion of the harvested phytomass. J Environ Sci Health 48(3):319-330.