With ample inspiration from his late grandfather, Jacques Fresco, a onetime Princeton University professor and a pioneer in DNA and RNA biochemistry, Galil Cohen '23 declared a biochemistry & molecular biology major at Dickinson. Below, Cohen discusses what he loves about his major, his experiences studying and playing soccer remotely during the pandemic and his internship in medical research.
Princeton, New Jersey, but I lived in Tel Aviv, Israel, until I was 8 years old.
Clubs and organizations:
Men’s Soccer, Chess Club, College Choir, Dickinson Jewish Relations Council, Jewish Athletic Coalition, Hebrew Table Leader (2021-22)
Centennial Conference Honor Roll (2020, 2021 and 2022).
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.
Sideways and Bye Bye Germany.
Best thing about my major:
The courses in my biology major give me a better understanding of how life works but also the opportunity to follow the footsteps of my late grandfather, who was a major figure in the birth of modern molecular biology. Although challenging, I find my current biochemistry and metabolism classes fascinating, since they teach me about the processes and mechanisms that contribute to the inner workings of organisms. Studying topics in immunology in the midst of the COVID pandemic has made for especially relevant lessons.
Favorite place on campus:
Basement floor of the library, in the quiet section.
It’s hard to narrow my favorites down to one or even a few, but two I really enjoyed are Professor of Chemistry Michael Holden, whom I had for Organic Chemistry, and Associate Professor of Biology Kirsten Guss, whom I had for Genetics. Besides their excellence in teaching, I appreciate that I feel so comfortable talking to them outside of class, almost as if they’re friends of mine. I also particularly appreciate my microbiology professor, Professor of Biology David Kushner, for his dedication to our class. It’s remarkable how much feedback he gives for every assignment. He’s clearly very invested in each of his students’ successes.
As a kid, I wanted to be …
… a professional soccer player for Maccabi Tel Aviv
On studying abroad:
I didn’t get the chance to study abroad, but during my sophomore year (2020-21), COVID essentially filled that void. Since the fall semester was fully virtual, I flew to Salt Lake City so that my roommate, who’s also on Dickinson’s men’s soccer team, and I could spend at least the majority of the semester together at his home. A few weeks in, we took on an opportunity to try out for a semiprofessional soccer team in Phoenix.
Fortunately, the 12-hour drive each way and week’s trial were worth it, since both of us earned a spot on the team and experienced the amazing sights of Arizona. From then on through the following summer, we lived together in a small loft in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, where for five or six days per week we woke up at 4:45 a.m. to train. If you were 30 seconds late or didn’t give 100% concentration and effort every minute of every practice, you faced major consequences like sprints, a suspension or the scariest, infamous “hairdryer treatment” (as my Liverpool-born coach would say). Some days I had to leave practice early to make my 9:30 a.m. Zoom class—at 6:30 a.m. Arizona-time—which I streamed on my phone in the parking lot, while panting and wiping the sweat off my face. Away games in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and other parts of California were frequent. Even though I didn’t enjoy typing my final International Relations essay at 3 a.m. during the bumpy bus ride home from an away game in Las Vegas, the pandemic, for me, was a blessing in disguise, because I was able to do what I love at a high level and live independently while studying remotely and exploring the beauty and rich history of the West.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …
… Cristiano Ronaldo.
About my internship:
Last summer I interned for a nonprofit biomedical foundation, CHDI, which develops drugs that delay or slow the progression of Huntington's disease, a devastating neurodegenerative genetic disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline. Using bioinformatics software, Omicsoft’s Array Studio, I learned to generate and analyze statistical figures of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data of mouse models.
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Published December 20, 2022