COHEN, Alan

Gerosciences Axis

Contact

819 821-8000 , 12589
Title

Assistant Professor
Department of Family Medicine
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Université de Sherbrooke

Training

Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution, University of Missouri-St. Louis, United States

Research Themes

Research Relevance

For some time, Prof. Cohen has shown an interest in the development and application of innovative statistical methods to better respond to population health and fundamental biology issues, more specifically the aging process. We know that the aging process is highly complex, but we have yet to understand the fundamental biological mechanisms of aging or why and how those mechanisms vary across species. Prof. Cohen uses longitudinal epidemiological data to establish causal relationships among the underlying mechanisms of aging and certain biomarkers. He applies similar methods to different species in order to understand how the physiological regulatory networks function along differing time scales, how to measure them, and their consequences on physiological evolution over time in function of environmental changes and selective pressures. In the long term, he hopes to generate a method to measure biological age that could be applied clinically. These studies will help us to improve our understanding of social and economic factors which accelerate aging and chronic diseases in disadvantaged populations. Prof. Cohen collaborates broadly on other studies in which statistical methods are used to understand population health through biomarkers.

Representative Achievements

  • Developed a new theory on the evolution of aging known as the systemic constraints theory.
  • Organized a symposium at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on the potential consequences of anti-aging therapies on population growth.
  • Developed antioxidant measurement systems for wild animals and defined their importance at various stages (doctoral research).
  • Refuted the evolutionary theory of menopause and proposed an alternative theory.

Know-How

  • Statistics: Variable condensation methods (Principal components analysis, factor analysis, etc.); Regression models (linear, logistic, Poisson, multi-level); Bayesian models; Simulations of natural processes; Graphical representation of complex data and complex systems; Solutions to collinearity in regression models
  • Aging: Demographics; Physiological mechanisms; Relations to development; and Evolutionary theories
  • Demography: Formal (mathematical) demography; Age-period-cohort models; Lexis diagrams; Physiology: Regulatory networks over long timescales; Metabolism; Antioxidants and oxidative stress systems
  • Epidemiology and Population Health: Disease indices; Geographical analysis; Modelling socioeconomic factors in disease;  Malaria epidemiology
  • Ecology and Evolution: Life History Theory; Avian biology; Evolutionary ecology; Animal physiological ecology

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