Zane Cohen obtained his MD degree in 1969 at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and following this he did his general surgical residency in the Gallie Program at the University of Toronto. During this time he spent two years doing transplantation immunological research with Dr. Rudy Falk, and following his general surgical training he spent two years in the United Kingdom. One clinical year was at St. Mark’s Hospital for Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, and another research year was done at the London Hospital in London, England in transplantation immunology. Zane returned to join the staff of Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and the Division of General Surgery at the Toronto General Hospital in 1977 as a Lecturer. Over the next 12 years he rose through the ranks to become a Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto.
In 1990 Zane Cohen moved to the Mount Sinai Hospital to take up the position of Surgeon-in-Chief. He remained as Surgeon-In-Chief until June 30, 2006. In 1999, he was appointed as Chairman of the Division of General Surgery at the University of Toronto, an appointment which he now holds until June 30, 2009.
He has served as the Chairman of the Promotions Committee for the Department of Surgery from 1996 to 2001. He is an active member of the Senior Advisory Committee and the Finance Committee of the Department of Surgery, and currently holds the Bernard and Ryna Langer Chair as the Chairman of General Surgery at the University of Toronto.
Zane Cohen’s clinical interests have been almost entirely in the area of colon and rectal surgery. Zane had the opportunity to train with Professor Nils Kock on three separate occasions, and developed and brought to the university innovative surgical techniques which have helped thousands of patients afflicted with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and colorectal cancer. He has a specific interest in sphincter saving operations, and introduced the procedures of the Kock Pouch and the Pelvic Pouch techniques at the University of Toronto to patients with ulcerative colitis.
He also popularized the use of the double-staple technique for low anterior resections within the Division of General Surgery. Zane Cohen was the Co-Founder, along with Philip Gordon, of the Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and served as its second president. He was instrumental in developing a Colon and Rectal Training Program at the University of Toronto, amongst several of the teaching hospitals. His initial research interests were in the field of intestinal transplantation, and he, along with Dr. Bernard Langer, carried out the first human intestinal transplantation in the cyclosporine era.
Zane Cohen has authored over 230 manuscripts and book chapters, mainly in the area of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and colorectal cancer and intestinal transplantation. He has held peer reviewed research grants from all of the major granting agencies for his initial work in intestinal transplantation and his subsequent research work related to outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease. Zane has been an invited speaker world wide, he has an international reputation, and he is held in esteem by many of the general surgical residents, as well as the colorectal residents/fellows that he has trained. He has been recognized for his achievements on many occasions, most recently by the Finkelstein Award for Continued Excellence in Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the Mentors Award from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons in 2004, and the Colin R. Woolf Award for Excellence and Innovation in Course Coordination in 2005 for the General Surgery Update Course. He has been honored by Ben Gurion University of the Negev with a gala affair in Toronto attended by over 800 people.
Most recently, he has been again honoured with the naming of the Dr. Zane Cohen Digestive Diseases Clinical Research Centre. Within this centre are 24 clinical researchers from medical students to surgical and medical trainees, as well as faculty, who are all involved in IBD and colon cancer research. The Dr. Zane Cohen Lectureship has recently been initiated by a group of his colleagues.