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Benjamin Cocanougher

Benjamin Cocanougher

  • Scholar
  • 2016
  • 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

The beginnings of child-centred education in Spain

Anna Kathryn Kendrick’s first book, Humanizing Childhood in Early Twentieth Century Spain, was published earlier this year and in it she traces how Spanish neo-humanist education reformers drew upon international models to advance ‘catholic’ notions of holism and universality. It is based on her PhD in Spanish which she completed at the University of Cambridge. […]

Secrets of naked mole-rats’ cancer resistance uncovered

Naked mole-rats can live for an incredibly long time and have an exceptional resistance to cancer thanks to unique conditions in their bodies that stop cancer cells multiplying, according to new research led by a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Understanding how these remarkable animals are almost completely immune to cancer could improve our understanding of the […]

Bird conservation in Bangladesh

Scholar-Elect Sayam Chowdhury is studying the shorebirds of Bangladesh’s coastal areas and the impact of climate change on their conservation.

Tackling food insecurity

Stella Nordhagen’s job at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition aims to understand the causes of food insecurity and find solutions.

The Deviant’s War

Eric Cervini’s first book has already joined the New York Times’ Best Seller list, the first LGBTQ+ history book to make it to the list in 27 years.

Florentine ‘spy’ uncovered as designer of historic German palace

New research by Davide Martino shows that the Weimar Residenzschloss was designed by a Medici spy.

Tackling knee damage

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Designing an ecological sacred space

Gillean Denny has led the design of a Living Chapel in Italy, a symbol of hope for the ecological awakening of humanity.

Social Impact Award for Gates Cambridge Scholar

Andrea Kusec has won a Social Impact Award from the University of Cambridge’s Vice-Chancellor.

Gates Cambridge Trust Statement on diversity, openness and equity

The Gates Cambridge Trust is appalled by the horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, the latest in a long history of violence against…