He is a founder and Director of the Water Technology Research Center and the Center for Environmental Risk Reduction, and a member of the UCLA/National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN). Dr. Cohen is a UCLA Luskin Scholar and a recipient of the 2008 Ann C. Rosenfield Community Partnership Prize in recognition of his environmental research. He received the 2003 Lawrence K. Cecil award in Environmental Chemical Engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the AIChE Separations Division Outstanding Paper Award (1997 and 2009), and was elected Fellow of the AIChE in 2009. In 2008 he received a County of Los Angeles Commendation (2008), a State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition, and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition (US) for contributing to legislation to protect public health and dedicated service to the Los Angeles community.
Dr. Cohen served as Chair of the AIChE Environmental Division (2002) and of the Separation Division (2008). He published over 180 research papers and book chapters, presented over 300 papers in scientific conferences and gave over 130 invited talks on water technology, water desalination, separations processes, membrane technology, transport phenomena, polymer science, surface nano-structuring and environmental engineering. He is also the Editor of three environmental volumes. Dr. Cohen developed patented technologies in water desalination technology, membrane synthesis, high recovery brackish water desalination, membrane process monitoring, chemical sensors, surface nano-structuring with polymers, and developed models and software for environmental impact assessment. His present research focuses on distributed smart water systems, optimization and control of water treatment systems, RO/NF membrane development, membrane process monitoring, environmental impact assessment regarding emerging contaminants and the environmental implications of nanotechnology.
He has served on numerous Government Advisory Committees (including the USEPA Science Advisory Board and the NRC Board on Environmental studies and Toxicology) and recently served on the Blue Ribbon Committee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Dr. Cohen organized over thirty scientific conferences including the 2008 International Congress on Membranes and membrane processes (ICOM), the 2009 and 2010 West Coast Water Technology Transfer workshops, and he was the Meeting Program Chair of the 2010 Annual AIChE Meeting. He is a member of a number of professional societies including the, AIChE, ACS, NAMS, IDA, AWWA and AMTA.