News

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

First map of oil palm sustainability interventions

Oil palm expansion is known for its severe environmental impacts, but are there ways to mitigate its harm in order to reap the most from its benefits? A new study in PLOS Sustainability and Transformation this week presents a review of oil palm management strategies that might support more sustainable cultivation and is the first extensive systematic map […]

Why we need to tackle the problem of overconsumption

The wealthiest in the world need to reduce their over-consumption in order for climate change goals to be met and for the sustainability of the planet, Professor Bhaskar Vira told a gathering of Gates Cambridge alumni at the weekend. Professor Vira, a Gates Cambridge Trustee and soon to be Pro Vice Chancellor for Education as […]

Championing a new generation of writers

Deus Kansiime [2022] became fascinated as an undergraduate student in Uganda by the gap between the literature he was being taught and the literary texts that had currency on the Ugandan cultural scene. These texts were produced by an emerging generation of writers about whom his university professors knew very little about or had very little […]

Tackling misinformation about climate change

Gates Cambridge Scholar Ramit Debnath has been awarded an inaugural Cambridge Zero Fellowship to improve public understanding of climate change. Ramit [2018],  a computational social scientist who did his PhD at the Univeristy of Cambridge,  is currently a sustainability fellow at Churchill College and a visiting faculty associate in Computational Social Science at the California […]

Exploring a complex political and social identity

When she started studying law, Alaa Hajyahia [2022] saw it as a potential instrument for justice, but as she continued the schism between what it says and the political and social context in which it operates brought more questions than answers. Being one of just a handful of Palestinian students at Tel Aviv University’s (TAU) […]

New model can predict brain injury recovery more accurately

The families of patients with traumatic brain injury typically get little information about the recovery possibilities for their loved one aside from whether they will live or die. However, a new study has come up with a new model for predicting to what extent a person will recover. The study, “The leap to ordinal: Detailed […]

Addressing food insecurity through plant science

Anoop Tripathi [2022] is one of the few people in the world who have experience of using a newly developed technique of cereal grafting and hybridisation which could help save some crops threatened by climate change and disease. As Senior Research Laboratory Technician at the University of Cambridge he has been working on the new […]

Taking a critical approach to precision oncology

Precision medicine offers huge possibilities for patients with cancer, but we risk in some cases falling for hype and spin if we do not take a critical approach and ask the right questions about what it is for, what its limits are and how we communicate that to patients, according to Ben Chin-Yee [2022].  His […]

‘Glaring’ lack of diversity identified in journal editorial teams

Only a third of editors on journal editorial teams in environmental sciences and public health are women and less than a quarter are affiliated to institutions in low- and middle- income countries, according to a new study. The study, “Challenging the “Old Boys Club” in Academia: Gender and Geographic Representation in Editorial Boards of Journals […]

Exploring at the intersection of humanities and technology

Alex Mentzel has lived many careers and he’s still only in the first part of his life. Brought up in a musical family, he worked as an actor in film, tv and musical theatre, co-founded an app that aims to provide accurate and potentially life-saving information to people living in conflict zones and is now […]