Professor Zoe Cohen Receives UA’s Five-Star Faculty Award

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Zoe Cohen, PhD, assistant professor of physiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, was honored for excellence in teaching and mentoring with the Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award at the 2019 UA Awards of Distinction Ceremony.

First presented in 1983, the Margaret M. Briehl and Dennis T. Ray Five Star Faculty Award, sponsored by the UA Honors College, is the only award for UA faculty members that is determined by UA undergraduate students.

Each year, a committee of undergraduate students reviews all nominations, selects the top five nominees and conducts interviews and/or class visits to choose a winner.

UA undergraduate students from across campus have the opportunity to nominate excellent faculty members and each year a wide range of colleges and majors are represented. Finalists are selected on the basis of excellent teaching and engagement with students.

The award was presented to Dr. Cohen by Terry Hunt, PhD, dean of the UA Honors College. The annual awards ceremony celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of UA faculty members and are presented by the Office of the Provost, the Honors College, the Graduate College and the GIFT Center at the UA Foundation.

At the 2017 UA Awards of Distinction Ceremony, Dr. Cohen received the Undergraduate STEM Education Teaching Excellence Award. She also has received  Physiology Professor of the Year for the past four years by the Physiology Club; UA Club Advisor of the Year from the Associated Students of the UA; and the AMES (Academy of Medical Education Scholars) Excellence Award for Basic Science Teaching.

Dr. Cohen was recognized for her use of new techniques and strategies to increase student engagement and learning. She developed the first fully online course in immunology at the University of Arizona and adapted both her upper-division physiology course (Physiology of the Immune System and Cardiovascular Physiology) for delivery in the UA’s Collaborative Learning Space. 

Dr. Cohen is involved in undergraduate, graduate and medical teaching. At the College of Medicine – Tucson, she is the discipline director for physiology, serves on the admissions committee and is the incoming chair of the Tucson Education Policy Committee.

Dr. Cohen holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise physiology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a doctorate in physiological sciences from the UA. She did postdoctoral work in platelet and red blood cell physiology with the Canadian Blood Services and at the UA. She is a faculty adviser for the Physiology Club, the American Medical Student Association – Undergraduate Chapter and the Love Your Melon Campus Crew Program.

About the UA College of Medicine – Tucson

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson is shaping the future of medicine through state-of-the-art medical education programs, groundbreaking research and advancements in patient care in Arizona and beyond. Founded in 1967, the college boasts more than 50 years of innovation, ranking among the top medical schools in the nation for research and primary care. Through the university's partnership with Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, the college is leading the way in academic medicine. For more information, please visit

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