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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 alumni event in Santa Monica USA

On Saturday, November 7, 2009, Gates Scholars Alumni and guests gathered in Santa Monica, California for a reunion luncheon at the gorgeous restaurant, Shutters-on-the-Beach. With views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Boardwalk in the background, Gates Scholars happily chatted their way through an afternoon of delicious food and interesting presentations. The Deputy […]

New Provost appointed for Gates Cambridge Trust

Professor Robert Lethbridge, Master of Fitzwilliam College, is to succeed Dr Gordon Johnson as Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, the Trustees have announced. Professor Lethbridge, who has been Master of Fitzwilliam since 3 October 2005, will take up the post on 1 October 2010 during the Trust’s 10th anniversary year. He has had a […]

Applicants from the USA shortlisted for interview

The Gates Cambridge Trust has decided upon an interview shortlist for applicants from the USA. The shortlisted candidates have been invited to interview in Annapolis, MD in early February 2010 and were sent an email on 20 December 2009 with full information about the interviews. All applicants who were not shortlisted for interview were sent […]

Gates Alumnus writing for the Washington Post

Gates alumnus Arjun Parasher (2006) has become a contributor for the Washington Post’s Health Care Rx section. Arjun is currently a third year medical student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. While a Gates Scholar at Cambridge he undertook the MPhil in International Relations. Read Arjun’s articles on Obama and Pakistan, US […]

Gates Scholar wins prestigious mechanical engineering medal

Congratulations to Joan Ko (2006) who, in conjunction with Dr Dick Fenner (Centre for Sustainable Development), won the James Watt medal for 2009 by the Papers Panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers. This is for their paper entitled “Adoption of energy efficiency innovations in new UK housing” which was recently published in the Institution […]

Coffeehouse on Breaking into Politics

The past few years have seen an electrifying transition in the relationship between youth and politics.   With the maturation of social media and communication tools, a younger generation of citizens are now able to engage in political elections, campaigning, advocacy and the political process in unprecedented numbers.  This wave of youth participation has brought with […]

Gates Scholars win entrepreneurial prizes

Gates Scholars and Alumni have won prizes for their entrepreneurial ideas. Julia Fan Li, Apoorva Bhandari, Eva-Maria Hempe, Andrew Lynch and Rongjun Chen were involved in four of the 20 successful submissions that won the Cambridge Entrepreneurs prize. The £100 cash prizes were awarded for the best summaries of a business idea in not more […]

Noye’s Fludde rises to Cambridge

Carlos Del Cueto (PhD Musicology, Clare College) swaps the pen for the baton next week, when he conducts Noye’s Fludde by Benjamin Britten as part of the Cambridge Music Festival. It is a challenging work for a conductor, who is required to bring together the combined forces of children’s choir, professional soloists, and stratospheric recorders, […]

Rachel Pike gives climate talk at TED

In 4 minutes, atmospheric chemist and Gates Scholar Rachel Pike provides a glimpse of the massive scientific effort behind the bold headlines on climate change, with her team – one of thousands who contributed – taking a risky flights over the rainforest in pursuit of data on a key molecule. Rachel’s bio on the TED […]

Gates Scholar’s article picked up by international media

Congratulations to Molly Fox who has today published a first author article titled ‘Grandma Plays Favourites: X-Chromosome Relatedness and Sex-Specific Childhood Mortality’ in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The paper – summaried below – has been picked up by nespapers internationally, including articles in The New Scientist, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph,The Independent, […]