Featured image for post: Elan Cohen, Ph.D.

Elan Cohen, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator, Hassman Research Institute
Licensed Psychologist
Licensed Psychologist

Dr. Cohen joined HRI in 2016 as a Sub-Investigator and Lead Psychometrician before becoming a Principal Investigator upon earning his psychology license in New Jersey in early 2018. He had been licensed for over 10 years in Pennsylvania prior to his licensure in New Jersey. Dr. Cohen conducts trials at both the Marlton and Berlin locations. His expertise extends to writing clinical trial protocols, psychiatric scale management and administration services, integrating regulatory compliance matters with rater training programs, implementing systemic strategies aimed to reduce the placebo and nocebo effects, and applying working memory evaluations into clinical trial methodologies.

Work History

Dr. Cohen has participated in over 400 clinical trials, garnering comprehensive experience as an investigator in First-in-Human and other Phase I-II studies mainly for CNS sub-therapeutic areas, as well as Phase III-IV various CNS indications. As Principal Investigator, Dr. Cohen provides the hands-on, prompt, and detailed work sponsors and vendors expect in the execution of study procedures, data quality, and ultimate trial success.

Prior to HRI, Dr. Cohen was Director of the Clinical Assessment Technologies Department at Worldwide Clinical Trials from 2014 to 2016. Earlier on he worked for MedAvante, starting as a Clinical Manager and Rater in 2010 and ending his tenure as Associate Director of Operations in 2014, as well as CRI Lifetree from 2007 to 2009 as a Sub-Investigator and Psychometric Rater. From 2002 to 2007 he was a Psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania Counseling and Psychological Services Center.

Through his clinical trial work, Dr. Cohen provided services to numerous sponsors focused on their development and execution of world-class, high-quality rater training programs. His research on this topic, and related topics such as EDC systems and methodological implications of psychiatric measures within trials, has generated multiple presentations at international pharmaceutical conferences.

Dr. Cohen has taken a leadership role in the industry also with respect to researching strategies for managing the placebo and nocebo effects. A significant contribution toward this purpose is the development of the copyrighted Placebo-Control Reminder Script (PCRS) and its associated Daily No Expectation Reminder Magnet and Banner. The PCRS educates and reminds study participants about key placebo response factors, while the magnet and banner systemically substantiate this learning throughout study participation. Dr. Cohen’s empirical work on the PCRS has validated this tool as a significant contributor toward decreasing these phenomena. Dr. Cohen is leading Apex in continuously investigating this crucial topic area, presenting findings at international industry conferences and publications. Dr. Cohen has been asked to share his expertise by being invited to participate in several sponsor Scientific Advisory Boards, including Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Noven Pharmaceuticals. In addition to the presentation at numerous scientific meetings, his work, “Placebo Response Mitigation With a Participant-Focused Educational Procedure: A Randomized, Single-Blind, All Placebo Study in Major Depressive and Psychotic Disorders” has been published in Neuropsychopharmacology, the prestigious journal of the ACNP.


Dr. Cohen received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana State University, M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Ball State University, and B.A. in Psychology from The Ohio State University.