Dean Mark Cohen

Carle Illinois College of Medicine
Dean Mark S. Cohen

Mark S. Cohen, MD, FSSO, FACS, is Dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Carle Health. Previously, he was Professor of Surgery, Pharmacology, and Biomedical Engineering and Vice Chair in Surgery for Clinical Operations at the University of Michigan, where he directed the Center for Surgical Innovation, the Center Initiative for Medical and Surgical XR, as well as the Medical School Path-of-Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

He completed his BS in Chemical Engineering, his MD degree, and his surgical and fellowship training at Washington University in St. Louis. He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a Fellow of the Society of Surgical Oncology. He has run an NIH R01-funded translational oncology laboratory for the last 15 years working on developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics for the treatment and staging of advanced cancers, especially endocrine tumors and melanomas.

Mark Cohen

He developed several educational programs in Innovation and entrepreneurship for medical students, residents, and faculty as well as co-founding five start-up companies to improve the care of surgical patients. He has mentored over 200 faculty, residents, and students on surgical innovation projects, as well as advised 15 startups that combined have raised over $100M in capital. He has delivered over 100 invited national and international talks, and written and published 116 original scientific articles, 13 book chapters, as well as the textbook “Success in Academic Surgery: Innovation and Entrepreneurship” published in 2019 by Springer-NATURE.

He is on the editorial board for SURGERY, has held several national leadership positions in surgical societies, and is a founding member and program co-lead of the Holomedicine Association and currently Chairs the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education. He is a member of the Council of Deans of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a senior member of the Association for Academic Surgery, a member of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the International Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the Asian Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the International Society of Surgery, the Society of University Surgeons, the American Surgical Association, the Southwest Surgical Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Dean Cohen is also affiliated with the Beckman Institute, the Cancer Center at Illinois, and The Grainger College of Engineering.


In addition to six patents and over 100 invited/distinguished speaker presentations nationally and internationally including the Keynote Speaker at the 2020 Society of Thoracic Surgeons meeting, Dr. Cohen has received numerous awards and honors, including:

  • Biomedical Innovation Prize in 2015 by the University of Michigan Fast Forward Medical Innovation group at the Michigan Capital Growth Symposium
  • Keith Amos Award by Washington University Department of Surgery in 2015
  • Desphande Award for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2017
  • Token of Appreciation from Medical Students (TAMS) Award in 2018 from the University of Michigan Medical School
  • Distinguished Faculty Recognition Award in Innovation by the University of Michigan in 2019
  • Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize in 2021 for Applications of Mixed Reality to enhance Medical Education

Translational Research

Dean Cohen's translational research program is focused in three key areas:


Engineering novel cancer therapeutics targeting heat shock protein 90, its isoforms, and its heterochaperone complex as a safer and more efficacious anticancer approach.


Utilizing nanoparticle drug-delivery systems to improve cancer drug delivery, bone fracture healing, and tissue repair.


Tissue engineering to develop functional endocrine organs (thyroid, parathyroid, pancreatic islet cells) from adipose tissue to cure chronic diseases such as hypothyroidism, hypoparathyroidism, and diabetes.