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

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 […]

Ending the virus of racism

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has founded a group which is fundraising to develop the UK’s first non-profit aimed at addressing racism towards East and South East Asians. Dr  Lu Gram, who did his MPhil in Computer Speech, Text and Internet Technology and a PhD in Computer Science [2007] is currently a Sir Henry Wellcome Research […]

Scholar’s Cambridge-China programme goes online

An education company which links Cambridge and Zheijiang universities and was set up by a Gates Cambridge Scholar has made a successful move to online delivery over the summer, running a course in Algorithms for Machine Learning for 60 students from China. Cantab Academy, founded by Gates Cambridge Scholar Xiaohan Pan, designs and organises short-term […]

Scholar wins book contract and Yale post

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a book contract from a leading academic publisher and has been appointed Assistant Professor at Yale University. Marcel Elias’s first book, Crusade Literature and the Interrogation of Self: Romance and History, 1291-1453, scheduled to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2021, is described as “a study of the […]

The Scholar 2020 now out

The 2020 edition of The Scholar magazine is out with articles on everything from the need to reframe climate change action to early cancer detection and confronting everyday racism. The Scholar is written and edited by Gates Cambridge Scholars and Alumni. This year’s editing team are Editor in Chief Reetika Subramanian [2019], Assistant Editor Grant […]

Provost wins top Royal Society award

Gates Cambridge Provost Professor Barry Everitt has been selected for the Royal Society’s premier award in the biological sciences. Professor Barry Everitt FMedSci FRS has been awarded the Croonian Medal and Lecture 2021 for his research on the application of his findings on brain mechanisms of motivation to important societal issues, such as drug addiction. […]

Addressing energy injustice in the Global South

A new framework which uses artificial intelligence to analyse textual data on energy use and behaviour could help policymakers develop a deeper understanding of energy injustices in the Global South. The study, Grounded reality meets machine learning: A deep-narrative analysis framework for energy policy research, was led by Gates Cambridge Scholar Ramit Debnath [2018] and is published in the journal Energy Research […]

Scholar wins top German prize for PhD thesis

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a prestigious international award for her PhD dissertation on the relationship between offshore finance and state power. Dr Andrea Binder was named winner of the Körber Foundation’s German Dissertation Award 2020 for social sciences. The prize, one of the most highly endowed for young researchers from Germany, honours excellent PhD research which […]

Developing a farm for impact model

Shadrack Frimpong has not yet started his PhD, but already his and his team’s work has earned him awards from the Queen, the Clinton Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Foundation. The awards are for their outstanding work in creating a potential new development model for rural crop-growing communities starting from Shadrack’s own village in Ghana. […]