Yigal R. Cohen is a professor of Plant Pathology in the Department of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel. He was awarded the Ph.D. degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1969 and has spent his career at Bar-Ilan University. In 1977, Dr. Cohen was elected a dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and twice has been elected a member of the Board of Trustees of the University. His outstanding contributions to the science of phytopathology include original research, academic instruction, agricultural extension, and service to science.
Dr. Cohen’s more than 100 research publications focus on the epidemiology, genetics of plant resistance, and control of downy mildews and late blight of potato; 40 have been published in Phytopathology or Plant Disease. Dr. Cohen was the first to discover resistance in Pernonsporales to metalaxyl, leading to the development of innovative pathogen resistance management strategies. His studies in genetics of resistance resulted in the release of muskmelon lines with multiple resistances to fungal diseases. His recent discoveries are related to systemically induced resistance against mildews and late blight. He was the first to demonstrate that polyunsaturated fatty acids can induce systemic resistance against late blight. He also showed that DL-b-aminobutyric acid can induce resistance to foliar and root diseases caused by fungi. His research has resulted in three patents. Dr. Cohen’s research interests extend beyond phytopathology. He was the first to produce a homozygous gynoecious muskmelon line for handfree F1 hybrid seed production.
Dr. Cohen is responsible for teaching mycology and phytopathology undergraduate courses and a graduate course on mechanisms of disease resistance in plants. He is an outstanding teacher, ranked by his students as one of the best instructors in the department. Twenty M.Sc. and Ph.D. candidates have completed graduate degree programs under his supervision. Dr. Cohen’s expertise in epidemiology and control of plant diseases is widely recognized by his government and the potato and melon growers of Israel. Dr. Cohen has served as president of the Israel Phytopathological Society, on the Editorial Board of Phytopathology, and as senior editor of Phytoparasitica.