News

Benjamin Cocanougher

Benjamin Cocanougher

  • Scholar
  • United States
  • 2016 PhD Zoology
  • St Catharine's College

I grew up catching praying mantises and damselflies in rural Kentucky. As an undergraduate at Centre College, I majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; I spent my summers taking care of sick children at the Center for Courageous Kids and doing research in organic chemistry and neuroscience. I matriculated directly to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and completed my first three years of medical school. I then moved to Janelia Research Campus as a HHMI Medical Research Fellow; there I studied the neural and genetic bases of behavior. As a PhD student in Zoology, I will study adaptive behavior. All animals integrate information about past experience into future decisions; this is the basis of learning and memory. I am proposing to write a specific memory and read the memory trace in the brain. I will use the fruit fly as a model organism. By understanding mechanisms of memory storage, we can begin to investigate changes in memory formation in disease; this may allow us to develop rational therapies for disorders of memory formation, including autism and Alzheimer’s disease. After completing my PhD, I will return to finish my last year of medical school and pursue a career as a child neurologist and neuroscientist, using my lab to better understand the patients I see in clinic.

Previous Education

Centre College

Latest News

On the COVID frontline

Three Gates Cambridge scholars who have been on the medical frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic will be speaking about their experiences at a virtual event next weekend. The event, organised by the Gates Cambridge Alumni Association, will be moderated by Elizabeth Dzeng, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco in the […]

New game tackles Covid conspiracies

A new online game that puts players in the shoes of a purveyor of fake pandemic news is the latest tactic in the UK Government’s efforts to tackle the deluge of coronavirus misinformation that is misleading many and costing lives across the world. Launched to the public today, the Go Viral! game has been developed by the […]

“Democracy does not work on a ‘trust me’ basis”

When Jennifer Gibson started her MPhil at Cambridge in 2001 as part of the inaugural class of Gates Scholars, no-one knew what it meant to be a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Twenty years later, Jennifer is now a human rights lawyer focused on national security issues, something she never could have anticipated, but which she credits in no small part […]

Black legacies in STEM

A series of mini exhibitions, ‘Past & Present: Black legacies in STEM’, launches today [5th October] to highlight the impact of Black scientists throughout history and to inspire Black students to pursue a career in science. The exhibitions, which will include posters around Cambridge and an online showcase, are organised by Africans in STEM, including […]

Study investigates teaching effectiveness in Punjab

Public school teachers in Pakistan’s most populous province exhibit more effective teaching practices than private school teachers and show better mastery of Urdu than private and public private partnership school teachers, according to a new study which tracks developments since the enactment of major education reforms. The study by Ali Ansari, published in the International Journal of Educational […]

Gates Cambridge celebrates 20 years

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Gates Cambridge – one of the world’s most sought after awards.  The scholarship programme was established in 2000 after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $210 million to the University of Cambridge to fund an international postgraduate scholarship programme for students who are academically outstanding, and show a […]

Oil palm replanting may decrease invertebrate biodiversity

Oil palm is the most traded vegetable oil in the world, featuring in products ranging from instant noodles to lipstick. It has long been the source of huge controversy as plantations – most of them in Southeast Asia, often replace tropical rainforests which are rich in biodiversity, depriving species of their habitats. However, although levels […]

Bill Gates Sr., founding Gates Cambridge Trustee, dies at 94

Everyone associated with the Gates Cambridge Trust will be deeply saddened to hear of the death of Bill Gates Sr. on September 14th 2020. As Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates Sr. played an absolutely key role in establishing the Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme at the University of Cambridge. He was […]

Scholar named next generation leader for his policy work

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been recognised as a Middle Eastern and North African American National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leader. Geo Saba, who did his MPhil in International Relations at the University of Cambridge, was selected as one of 30 next generation MENA leaders by the Diversity in National Security Network and New America. It is […]

Addressing mental ill health among marginalised women

The mental health of women in low-income settings in India is affected both by everyday issues and by gender-related stressors, particularly around motherhood, poverty and domestic conflict, according to a new study that seeks to document women’s own accounts of their mental health. The study, “A woman’s life is tension”: A gendered analysis of women’s distress […]