Seth Cohen

Chemistry and Biochemistry


Research Focus
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), coordination polymers, metal-containing polymers, MOF-polymer composites

Research Summary

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a class of materials that combine organic ligands and metal ions to generate porous materials with defined topologies. Our focus has been on the development of postsynthetic methods for the functionalization of MOFs. Postsynthetic methods, such as postsynthetic modification (PSM), postsynthetic deprotection (PSD), and postsynthetic exchange (PSE) are useful approaches to altering the physical properties of MOFs and generate MOF materials with new properties, including catalytic function. More recently, our program has investigated the interface between MOF and polymer materials, including new hybrid composites, such as polyMOFs and mixed-matrix membranes (MMMs) derived from MOFs.

Seth Cohen
Lab Website


Professor Cohen earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University. He then received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, under the mentorship of Prof. Kenneth N. Raymond, followed by an NIH postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Prof. Stephen J. Lippard at MIT. He began his independent research career at the University of California, San Diego in 2001, which has included service as Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His research program is focused on the interface of bioinorganic and medicinal chemistry, as well as advanced materials, specifically the chemistry of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Seth previously served as the AAAS Roger Revelle Fellow in Global Stewardship in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and he is an alumnus of the Defense Science Study Group (DSSG).  Seth is an elected fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has been recognized with several awards for his research and teaching, including an NSF CAREER award, the ACS Cope Scholar Award, and the 2004 Cottrell Scholar, 2017 TREE, and 2022 IMPACT awards from RCSA.