Jim Cohen was born and raised in Washington, DC, but spent many summers of his youth in the North Woods of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. These experiences had a large impact on him, which resulted in Cohen's desire to study ecology and environmental science. To this end, Cohen attended the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) at the University of Michigan majoring in Resource Ecology and Management.
While studying plant and forest ecology, Cohen was encouraged to take a course in plant systematics, and that was it! Cohen discovered his passion for botany, evolution, and ecology and went on to earn his PhD in the Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University, where he studied the systematics of Lithospermum (Boraginaceae) and the evolution and development of heterostyly.
After graduation in 2010, Cohen moved to Laredo, TX to work at Texas A&M International University and continued his work on Boraginaceae and heterostyly. After a few years in South Texas, Cohen moved to Flint, MI to join the newly formed Applied Biology program at Kettering University. Currently, Cohen continues to study plant systematics using traditional and modern techniques in order to better understand patterns of evolution and development in Boraginaceae and other groups or organisms. He teaches a variety of biology courses to students at Kettering and works with organizations in the Flint community to discuss aspects of botany and biology. Away from the University, Cohen enjoys spending time with his family, cooking and baking, and listening to 90s music.