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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

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App allows comparisons in rate of spread of COVID-19

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Gates Cambridge announces Class of 2020

Seventy-seven new scholars – citizens of 30 different countries – have been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Scholar wins prestigious interdisciplinary fellowship

Gabriella Heller is named one of 22 new Schmidt Science Fellows.

Speeding up the medical response to COVID-19

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Tackling period poverty and fast fashion waste

Jennifer [2017] is the founder of Emporsand, an enterprise that aims to empower women through sanitation. Its first product, a sanitary pad made with the remnants of fast fashion, taps not only into concerns about waste and the environment, but also into period poverty – two of the biggest issues the world is facing today.

Call for global partnerships to address brain injury in less wealthy countries

Nearly 75% of published neurosurgical trials are led by the world’s richest countries, with only 8%, excluding China, being led by lower income countries, according to a new study, which highlights how healthcare guidelines for people with head injuries is skewed towards countries with the most resources. The study, led by Gates Cambridge Scholar Dylan Griswold and published […]