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Dr Kohn attended Salford Grammar School, where he won a university scholarship for Manchester University. He achieved a BSc, MSc, PhD and received the Wilde Prize in Pharmacology for the best MSc thesis of the year.
In 1954 he won a post-doctoral fellowship and selected the Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome, where two world-renowned scientists worked: Sir Ernst Chain, the co-discoverer of Penicillin who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945, and Professor Daniel Bovet, who received the Nobel Prize in 1957 for his drug research. Ralph worked with both of these scientists and published several joint papers with them.
Before leaving Rome for New York, where he was to spend another post-doctoral year at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he asked Marcantoni for an introduction to Gigli, whom he had heard sing arie antiche and operatic arias in Manchester around 1949/50 at the Bellevue. Marcantoni obliged. And so it was that Ralph, who was doing important medical research in diabetes at the Istituto, met the insulin-dependant diabetic Gigli at his villa. When Gigli asked him to sing something, he chose 'Bella siccome un angelo' from Don Pasquale and spent some time with the great tenor discussing ways of approaching the aria.
He is also a recipient of the Paterno Research Fellowship at the Institute in Rome.He then received the Riker Fellowship to take him to New York, where he worked in the Department of Pharmacology, headed by Professor Albert Gilman at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
He was subsequently appointed senior Executive in the Research and Development Division of Smith Kline & French of Philadelphia, USA. After 7 years with the company, he became MD of Robopharm, a company active in biological products, where he stayed 5 years.
In 1969, Ralph Kohn set up his own company Advisory Service (Clinical and General) Ltd., one of the first independent research companies providing essential pharmaceutical and medical services to the worldwide pharmaceutical industry. The company played a significant role in clinical assessment of new therapeutic substances and in 1990 was recipient of the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement.Ralph has been active in many research projects and, in addition to his work in the UK, Europe and the USA, has been very active in supporting the Japanese Pharmaceutical Industry. He has also lectured in many countries on new drug developments, including India and Japan