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Benjamin Cocanougher

Benjamin Cocanougher

  • Alumni
  • 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

Gates Scholar on podium for closing of Winter Olympics

After volunteering to help with the Winter Olympics in her hown town of Vancouver, Gates Scholar Julia Fan Li was lucky enough to be nominated as one of the four volunteers to take to the podium for the closing ceremony. Julia said “It was the thrill of my life. being up there in front of […]

Gates Alumna wins prestigious Lemelson-MIT Caltech Prize

Gates aluma Heather Agnew (2003) has won the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Caltech Student Prize. Heather (pictured far right) received the $30,000 prize for her work on “Protein Capture Agents for Improving the Performance and Stability of Point-of-Care Diagnostics.”. The Lemelson-MIT Caltech Student Prize is be awarded to a Caltech undergraduate or graduate student who has created […]

Statins and Diabetes

Sreenivasa Rao Kondapally Seshasai is the co-author of an article this month in The Lancet, the world’s leading platform for peer-reviewed publications in medical science. The article, of which a summary can be found here, considers whether a link exists between statin use and the development of diabetes. The study examines the results of statin […]

Distinguished Lecture: Joshua Silver on corrective eye wear for the developing world

Professor Joshua Silver gave his Gates Scholars Distinguished Lecture – entitled ‘How we do we really bring vision corrective to those that need it in the developing world?’ – at the Cambridge Union Society on 3 February 2010. Joshua Silver is an atomic physicist and Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford. He became […]

Gates alumnus Joseph Lim passes away

The Trust is sad to announce the death of Dr Joseph Lim – a Gates alumnus from the Philippines who undertook the PhD in Pharmacology at Selwyn College from 2004. More recently Joseph was working as a post-doctoral researcher in Molecular Physiology at the University of Dundee. Joseph was a well-liked member of the Gates […]

Distinguished Lecture: film-maker and writer Rupert Isaacson on ‘Horse Boy’ film

Movie director and writer, Rupert Isaacson, spoke about about his experience filming The Horse Boy at the Gates Scholars’ Distinguished Lecture on 14 January 2010 . The documentary feature film, based on the New York Times Best-seller The Horse Boy: A father’s Quest to Health His Son, was nominated for an award the Sundance Film […]

Alumni event at British Embassy in DC

In early February 2010 the British Ambassador to the USA, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, generously hosted a cocktail reception at the British Embassy in honour of ten years of the Gates Cambridge Scholarships. The event was attended over 100 guests including a number of Gates and other Cambridge alumni, as well as representatives from the Trust, […]

New US Gates Scholars 2010 announced

The Gates Cambridge Trust is delighted to announce that it has awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships to 29 talented American students to pursue Masters or PhD degrees at the University of Cambridge from October 2010. Full details are available on the New Scholars 2010 page.

Gates Provost-elect profiled in Times Higher Education Supplement

Professor Robert Lethbridge, who will succeed Dr Gordon Johnson as Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust from 1 October 2010, has been profiled in the Times Higher Education Supplement. Professor Lethbridge, currently Master of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, is confident that the Gates programme will produce future world leaders and plans to raise the overseas profile […]

Gates Scholar finds chimpanzees use tools to cut up their food

Kathelijne Koops (2006) and fellow researchers at Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies have discovered evidence that some wild chimpanzees in Guinea’s Nimba Mountains use tools to cut their food into smaller, more chewable bits. The research, which has been published in the journal Primates, has been picked up the BBC and the New […]