William E. Cohn, MD

Dr. Cohn is an active member of the Professional Staff at THI and served as Director of the Center for Technology and Innovation and Director of the legendary Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratory at the THI prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, as the Vice President for Medical Devices Companies and Executive Director of the new Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Show full bio

Dr. Cohn earned an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from Oberlin College in Ohio, and went on to receive his Doctor of Medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  He then completed seven years of general surgical and cardiothoracic surgical training at the Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals and a one-year cardiothoracic fellowship at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital. After completion of his training, he stayed on as a staff Cardiothoracic surgeon at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and as a full-time faculty of Harvard Medical School for ten years before being recruited back to his hometown.

At THI he has been intimately involved in the development of the continuous-flow, totally implantable, artificial heart and in 2011, Dr. Cohn and Dr. O. H. Frazier successfully implanted the first pulseless total heart replacement device in a human patient.

Medical device development remains his passion and he has been granted more than 90 US patents or patents pending for his medical innovations that have provided the core technology for six venture-backed medical start-ups.

His numerous awards include an honorary doctorate in science from Oberlin College, the Distinguished Scientist Award, given by the MacDonald Fund, and the Edison Award for excellence in human-centered design and innovation for the SentreHEART® Lariat®.  In 2000, Dr. Cohn was named the distinguished Inventor of the Year by the U.S. Intellectual Property Owners Association.  In 2014 he was named Outstanding Inventor of the Year by the Houston IPO.  In addition, in 2014 he received the Innovation award at ICI in Tel Aviv for inventing the TVA everLINQ system for percutaneous AV fistula creation and for founding TVA Medical.  In 2015, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for healthcare innovation by the Houston Technology Center.

Before joining J&J, he was a Venture Partner at Santé Ventures and was the Chief Medical Officer for BiVACOR USA and for Reliant Heart.

See Publications

Texas Heart Institute Positions

  • Teaching Staff, Cardiac Transplantation, Heart Failure and Assist Device Fellowships
  • Teaching Staff, Thoracic Surgery Residency


  • Undergraduate:

    Oberlin College

  • Medical School:

    Baylor College of Medicine

  • Internship:

    Baylor College of Medicine

  • Residency:

    Baylor College of Medicine


Steinmetz, L. M. and Coselli, J. S. (2022). Endovascular repair in patients with Marfan syndrome: concerns amid controversy. Ann Vasc Surg, S0890-5096(22)00236–9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2022.04.049.
Bieritz, S. A., Alex Smith, P., Wang, Y. et al. (2021). Applicability of narrow groove theory in designing washout features for rotary blood pumps. Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2021, 5419–5424. https://doi.org/10.1109/EMBC46164.2021.9630426.
Letsou, G. V., Baldwin, A. C. W., Civitello, A. B. et al. (2021). Continuous-flow left ventricular assist device explantation after more than 5 years of circulatory support and ventricular reconditioning. Tex Heart Inst J 48, e207266. https://doi.org/10.14503/THIJ-20-7266.
Baldwin, A. C., Gemmato, C. J., Cohn, W. E. et al. (2021). Feasibility of long-term continuous flow total heart replacement in calves. Int J Artif Organs, 391398820987851. https://doi.org/10.1177/0391398820987851.
Kamat, I. and Cohn, W. E. (2021). Pericardial access through the right atrium in a porcine model. Tex Heart Inst J 48. https://doi.org/10.14503/THIJ-20-7244.
Schutz, A., Mattar, A., Loor, G. et al. (2020). Simple felt-plug closure technique for minimally invasive removal of a centrifugal-flow left ventricular assist device. Tex Heart Inst J 47, 322–324. https://doi.org/10.14503/THIJ-19-7097.
Nestler, F., Timms, D. L., Stevens, M. et al. (2020). Investigation of the inherent left-right flow balancing of rotary total artificial hearts by means of a resistance box. Artif Organs. https://doi.org/10.1111/aor.13631.
Kurihara, C., Cohn, W. E., Kawabori, M. et al. (2019). Long-term continuous-flow left ventricular assist device support after left ventricular outflow tract closure. ASAIO J 65, 558–564. https://doi.org/10.1097/MAT.0000000000000856.
Letsou, G. V., Anand, J., Ogburn, E. et al. (2019). Low incidence of pump-related infections in Jarvik 2000 Ventricular Assist Device recipients with a subcostal driveline exit site. Tex Heart Inst J 46, 179–182. https://doi.org/10.14503/THIJ-15-5708.
Hord, E. C., Bolch, C. M., Tuzun, E. et al. (2019). Evaluation of the CorInnova Heart Assist Device in an Acute Heart Failure Model. J Cardiovasc Transl Res 12, 155–163. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12265-018-9854-5.

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