Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke
neuroscientist

SAM COOKE is a neuroscientist whose work addresses two questions: How do our brains change as we learn, and how do they stay changed, to store memories for a lifetime? He first became interested in these questions while studying philosophy and experimental psychology at the University of Sheffield, U.K., and he took his Ph.D. at University College, London, in 2002 with a dissertation entitled "The Making of a Motor Memory." During this period, he was able to elucidate some of the neural mechanisms underlying the acquisition of simple motor skills through associative learning. He then moved to the National Institute for Medical Research, in North London, where he shifted his focus to the neural basis of episodic memory—that is, memories of the details of the events that one experiences. He also began work on the phenomenon of long-term potentiation, a model of how memories may be stored by modification of synapses in the brain. He is currently a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he continues to probe the biology of memory.